Living with Psoriasis

Hi Guys!

So….I have Psoriasis.

I have lived with this for the longest time since I was about 5 years old. After countless doctor visits and being misdiagnosed with eczema, I was only diagnosed with psoriasis at the age of 24…

I hate it, but I have to live with it until a cure is found.

I have always been ashamed of my affected skin, feeling the need to hide it. I have it on my hands, both thumbs and index fingers. It started on my right thumb, then my nail started to look deformed and bumpy followed by my skin starting to get very dry and peel off. So gross I know.

After years it started on my other thumb as well. When I was 16 I accidentally burned my fingers with boiling water from the kettle. Luckily I had no permanent scars from that incident.  After my skin healed from the burn I noticed my nail changing and I knew that something was wrong.

We went to a dermatologist and showed her my thumbs and she said that it was only eczema and gave me the needed medication for that. Little did we know that she misdiagnosed me again… Apparently, this happens a lot.

Fast forward a few years, my left index finger started to do the same. I decided to go to another Doctor; she looked at my hands and told me that it was not eczema, but that it was psoriasis. At this stage, I was 24 years old. I grew up thinking I had eczema instead I had something worse (in my opinion). I was shocked.

She also informed me that there is no cure for it and that she could give me an ointment/cream. She gave me a prescription and I got the medicine.

The fact that I have anxiety did not help my condition. I kept peeling away at my skin until it bled. I got so used to peeling my skin off, it was a diversion. Every time I would feel anxious I would peel away at my fingers. Leaving my skin in pain, making it hard to use my hands, like normal people. I struggle to open milk cartons, tight lids, you name it.

I have it good compared to other psoriasis sufferers; you can get it all over your body, from your scalp to your feet. Some people have severe psoriasis and others like me have it mild. There are different types of psoriasis also, coming with their own sets of obstacles.

I have the best support system in the world, my family. They have always given me the best care, creams, and advice. haha

 

The information (summary) below is from trusted psoriasis websites;

https://www.psoriasis.org/about-psoriasis/treatments/alternative

https://clicks.co.za/health/conditions/article-view/psoriasis

What it is;

Psoriasis is an immune-mediated/autoimmune disease that causes raised, red, scaly patches to appear on the skin.

It typically affects the outside of the elbows, knees or scalp, though it can appear on any location. Psoriasis is associated with other serious health conditions, such as heart disease and depression.

What is an autoimmune disease?

Psoriatic disease is an autoimmune disease. That means that psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis are actually caused by an overactive immune system.

How do I get psoriasis?

While scientists do not know what exactly causes psoriasis, we do know that the immune system and genetics play major roles in its development. Usually, something triggers psoriasis to flare. The skin cells in people with psoriasis grow at an abnormally fast rate, which causes the buildup of psoriasis lesions. Psoriasis is not contagious. It is not something you can “catch” or that others can catch from you. Psoriasis lesions are not infectious.

How is psoriasis diagnosed?

There are no special blood tests or tools to diagnose psoriasis.

A dermatologist (doctor who specializes in skin diseases) or other health care provider usually examines the affected skin and determines if it is psoriasis. Your doctor may take a piece of the affected skin (a biopsy) and examine it under the microscope. When biopsied, psoriasis skin looks thicker and inflamed when compared to skin with eczema.

What type of psoriasis do I have?

There are five types of psoriasis. Learning more about your type of psoriasis will help you determine the best treatment for you.

  • Plaque Psoriasis
  • Guttate
  • Inverse
  • Pustular
  • Erythrodermic

Individuals having an erythrodermic psoriasis flare should see a doctor immediately. This form of psoriasis can be life-threatening.

What triggers psoriasis?

Psoriasis triggers are not universal. What may cause one person’s psoriasis to become active, may not affect another. Established psoriasis triggers include:

Stress

Stress can cause psoriasis to flare for the first time or aggravate existing psoriasis. Relaxation and stress reduction may help prevent stress from impacting psoriasis. Injury to skin Psoriasis can appear in areas of the skin that have been injured or traumatized.

Infection

Other possible triggers Although scientifically unproven, some people with psoriasis suspect that allergies, diet and weather trigger their psoriasis.

Treatment consists of skin care

Treatment aims to remove scales and stop skin cells from growing so quickly. Topical ointments, light therapy and medication can offer relief.

Medical procedure

Photodynamic therapy

Combines medications with light therapy to destroy abnormal cells or close blood vessels.

Medications

Steroid

Modifies or simulates hormone effects, often to reduce inflammation or for tissue growth and repair.

Vitamin A derivative

Unplugs blocked hair follicles and helps prevent new blockages from forming. Slows skin cell growth.

Anti-Inflammatory

Prevents or counteracts swelling (inflammation) in joints and tissues.

Immunosuppressive drug

Reduces immune response.

Vitamin

Helps promote normal body function, growth and development.

Self-care

Stress management

Pursuing an enjoyable activity or verbalising frustration to reduce stress and improve mental health.

Petroleum jelly

A thick, topical ointment made from crude oil that moisturises and protects the skin. Commonly known as Vaseline.

Coal tar extract

Soothes scaling and itching skin.

Light therapy

Exposure to bright light using a device called a light box. Mimics natural sunlight.

Ultraviolet light therapy

Ultraviolet light therapy for serious skin diseases. Used along with a special medication that increases light absorption.

Moisturizer

Hydrates and protects skin from damage.

Urea

It can treat certain skin and nail conditions.

Specialists

Rheumatologist

Specialises in arthritis and other rheumatic diseases.

Primary Care Provider (PCP)

Prevents, diagnoses and treats diseases.

Dermatologist

Focuses on disorders of skin, nails and hair.

Consult a doctor for medical advice

 

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