Psoriasis is still not taken seriously enough, even though relatively many people are affected and in more severe cases, it can have serious consequences in addition to unpleasant skin surface symptoms
Psoriasis (medically known as psoriasis) is a dermatological disease that is associated with the overproliferation and increased functioning of the skin's horn-producing cells (keratinocytes), thereby increasing the keratinization of the skin. Unfortunately, there is currently no cure or procedure for those suffering from the disease, but therapeutic methods greatly improve the condition of patients.
“In Hungary, roughly 150-200 thousand people, and around 120 million people worldwide, live with psoriasis. Hiding is characteristic of those affected, and instead of looking for solutions, they prefer to isolate themselves. That is why it is important to spread knowledge about the disease and dispel misconceptions. The opportunity was given for appropriate treatment, but unfortunately the experience is that many patients do not get to this point due to the lack of knowledge," emphasized Dr. Péter Holló PhD, associate professor, board member of the Hungarian Dermatology Society, Department of Dermatology and Dermatology, Semmelweis University Head of the Psoriasis Center. Let's see the most common misconceptions!
1. Psoriasis is a cosmetic problem
Psoriasis is a chronic inflammatory disease that affects the entire body, which can cause characteristic, scaly, inflamed spots in any part of the body, but most often on the knees, elbows and hairy scalp. For this very reason, we often think of psoriasis as a skin disease, even though the cause of the symptoms actually lies deep under the skin.
In addition to the existence of a hereditary genetic predisposition, many factors can lead to the development of the disease, so for example any inflammatory focus - a bad tooth or inflamed tonsils, sinusitis - or other diseases can be enough to cause psoriasis symptoms to develop.
Psoriasis is now considered a systemic disease related to several inflammatory diseases affecting other organ systems, such as inflammatory bowel diseases.
Psoriasis is not caused by a virus or bacteria, therefore you cannot catch it or infect others with it. Psoriasis is a chronic inflammatory disease affecting the entire body, which causes characteristic, scaly, inflamed spots on the skin and is often associated with arthritis. In the direct background of skin and joint changes, there are pathological immune processes that continuously maintain inflammation.
3. What works for me will work for others
Psoriasis can have different symptoms and other co-morbidities for individuals, so dermatologists must also take these into account when compiling a personalized therapy suitable for the patient. In mild cases, local treatment can be effective, while in more severe, extensive cases, or in cases accompanied by co-morbidities, systemically, internally applied treatment can be effective. In addition, regular exercise and a balanced diet play a major role in achieving a good quality of life.
4. It also attacks the joints in old age
The appearance of joint symptoms is not a feature of old age: in about 10-40 percent of people with psoriasis, the disease affects the joints as well as the skin. This is called chronic psoriatic arthritis, which, like psoriasis, develops due to a malfunction of the immune system and can affect the small and large joints of the limbs or the spine. In mild cases, inflammatory symptoms can be accompanied by pain and swelling of the joints, but in severe, advanced cases, the joints are deformed and their movement may become limited.
- Up to 69% of people living with psoriasis may experience nail changes, e.g. small pits may appear or the nail may separate from the nail bed. It is also important to pay attention to the symptom, because it can also be a sign of psoriatic arthritis. (Psoriasis patients who also have nail involvement are three times more likely to develop joint psoriasis.)
- In addition, the occurrence of Crohn's disease or metabolic syndrome - which includes diabetes and cardiovascular diseases - is also more common among people living with psoriasis.
5. Learn to live with unpleasant symptoms
The unpleasant, increasing symptoms of psoriasis and the recurring flare-ups of the disease should not be tolerated, even if we have several unsuccessful treatments behind us, as the disease can be made symptom-free. For this purpose, if the symptoms only affect a small area of the skin, local ointment treatments are the most appropriate. In severe, extensive cases, light treatment of the whole body or drug treatment is recommended. Conventional systemic drugs are used for drug treatment, and biological agents can be used in case of their ineffectiveness or contraindications. Biological therapies can only be prescribed by specialists working in designated dermatology centers.
It is important that patients consult a dermatologist with their complaints; and in more severe cases, they should visit a clinic with special therapeutic options or a hospital center with extensive experience in the treatment of psoriasis. (The contact details of the dermatology centers can also be found on the website www.psorigo.hu.)
6. The "psoriasis diet" cures the disease
Establishing and following a proper diet plays an important role in the prevention and treatment of many diseases, but in the case of psoriasis, self-pity is pointless, as there is no professionally proven special diet that can eliminate the symptoms of the disease on its own. It is advisable for patients to follow the rules for a general, he althy diet, the main guideline of which is to avoid the consumption of refined cereals, sugars and foods with artificial ingredients.
And what is the quality of life of people with skin diseases like? It wouldn't hurt to deal with this question any more, because the results of the surveys so far are quite depressing. Dr. Péter Holló previously told Dívány that based on the answers to specific questions, 25% of psoriasis patients experience depression and anxiety, 5% are actively concerned with the idea of suicide, and 10% do not want to live any longer. With the help of a mask master, our colleague Lina was able to experience for a few days what it's like to live with a spectacular but non-contagious skin disease. You can also read his experience report below.