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I remember when I was first told by my doctor I had psoriasis. There was no explanation as to what it was or how it had come about. Just a diagnosis and a prescription handed to me.
I left the doctor’s office with no idea how to pronounce or even spell psoriasis, never mind have a basic understanding of the condition and what it meant for me.
Over the last 5 (almost 6!) years, I have learnt a lot about the condition. So, for today’s post I am going to share with you the ten things I wish someone had told me about psoriasis when i was first diagnosed.
1. Psoriasis is incurable – for now
Despite what people or the press might try and make you believe, sadly, there is no current cure for psoriasis. Psoriasis may flare at times but there may also be times when you are clear. With psoriasis, you have to take the rough with the smooth (no pun intended). Whilst there is no cure now, that doesn’t mean there won’t be one in the future.
2. Psoriasis is an immune-mediated disease
I really wish someone had explained this to me sooner. The amount of time, money and effort I spent on skincare routines and skincare products that would help my skin look better is crazy. There is a big misconception that psoriasis is just a skin condition when the reality is it is an immune-mediated disease. This brings me on to point three…
3. Psoriasis is way more than just a ‘skin’ thing
Psoriasis can come with a variety of side effects and comorbidities (associated conditions). The most common comorbidities are psoriatic arthritis, fatigue, depression, anxiety plus increased risk of high blood pressure amongst other things. You should speak to your Doctor or Dermatologist if you think that you may have any of these comorbidities or side effects.
4. Psoriasis is actually quite common
Psoriasis is more common than you might think. The immune-mediated disease affects around 2% of people in the UK. Psoriasis can start at any age but most often the condition develops in adults under 35 years old, and affects men and women equally.
5. Psoriasis is not contagious
There is a common myth that psoriasis is contagious but this is in fact completely false. The disease can be hereditary, and can be triggered by injury to the skin, certain medications, infection or even stress. As previously mentioned, as psoriasis is an immune-mediated disease and not a skin condition, it is not contagious.
6. Psoriasis can appear anywhere, at any time
Psoriasis can appear on any part of the body. I have psoriasis on my scalp, face, pubic area and bottom. Many people get psoriasis on their legs and arms. It can appear at any time too and can be triggered by many things. You may have psoriasis constantly or it may come and go in flares. It is best to record your psoriasis and see if there are patterns that occur.
7. Psoriasis isn’t all bad
You will read lots of negative things about psoriasis, but it isn’t all bad! Through having psoriasis, I have met many wonderful people. The online psoriasis community is incredibly supportive and I have made many friends through it. I would encourage everyone with psoriasis to get involved in the community in any way you want to. It is a supportive space where you can learn from peers or just relate to what others are saying and not feel alone.
8. Treatment requires a lot of attention
Whatever your treatment may be, it is important to pay attention to how often you need to use your treatment, when to use it and where to use it. Using your treatment correctly is a big step to helping take control of your psoriasis. If you are ever unsure about your treatment, speak to your doctor or pharmacist for help and advice about what to expect.
9. Having a holistic plan can help
Having a holistic plan which you can follow alongside a plan with your doctor is a great way to help treat your psoriasis. A holistic plan takes into consideration exercise, diet, meditation and many more factors. I recently wrote a blog post on how to create a holistic plan for your psoriasis that you can read here.
10. Patience is key
Psoriasis can be incredibly frustrating, especially when it comes to treatment of psoriasis. Treatments can take weeks or months to show signs of working and as everyone's psoriasis is different, some might not work for you at all. The key is to be patient and keep trying – do not give up on finding something that will help to clear the visual signs of psoriasis, it took me four years and numerous prescriptions to find mine!
These are the things I wish I had known about psoriasis, what do you wish you had known?
UK/IE MAT-19405. Date of preparation: August 2018
Article developed in partnership with LEO Pharma.