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Psoriasis

It really gets under your skin

Psoriasis on elbowsPsoriasis (“suh-ry-uh-sus”) is a chronic skin problem that causes skin cells to grow too quickly, resulting in thick, white or red patches of skin. Normal skin cells grow gradually and flake off every four weeks, but psoriatic skin cells move rapidly to the surface of the skin in a matter of days, forming scaly lesions. They build up and form thick patches, which may appear on the knees, elbows, scalp, hands, feet, or lower back. About 1% of Singapore’s population is affected by psoriasis.

MYTH #1

Poor hygiene causes psoriasis.

Although psoriasis appears on the skin, it is a disease of the immune system that has little to do with personal cleanliness. Other factors like stress, infection, skin injury and hormonal changes can trigger outbreaks – most psoriasis sufferers experience cycles where flare-ups are followed by periods when their skin is clear.

woman with maskMYTH #2

Psoriasis is contagious.

The scaly patches are due to an autoimmune disorder, not a virus or germ. You cannot “catch” psoriasis from, or pass it on to, another person. However, hereditary and genetic factors do play a part in the development of psoriasis. In some patients, family members may also be affected by psoriasis. However, the actual pattern of inheritance has still to be clearly established.

iStock_000046522558_LargeMYTH #3

Psoriasis is just a cosmetic condition.

Psoriasis is more than skin deep – it is a chronic, inflammatory disease that can cause pain and intense itching, which need to be treated by a doctor. Some people develop psoriatic arthritis, which causes joint pain, stiffness, and swelling.

Blue professional stethoscope isolated on white backgroundMYTH #4

Psoriasis is easily diagnosed.

Other skin conditions, like eczema, cause similar symptoms to those of psoriasis. It is important to see a dermatologist who can perform the necessary tests to confirm a diagnosis of psoriasis.

iStock_000016037079_LargeMYTH #5

Psoriasis is curable.

Doctors consider psoriasis a chronic, lifelong disease. However, it can be controlled by a variety of treatments, including lotions and medication. You should seek professional advice from a dermatologist if you suffer from psoriasis. (But we hear oatmeal baths – just mix a cup of oatmeal into a tub of warm water – can help soothe the skin and loosen scales!)

 

References:

http://www.everydayhealth.com/psoriasis-patient-education/myths.aspx

http://psoriasissingapore.com/facts-about-psoriasis.html

http://umm.edu/health/medical/ency/articles/psoriasis

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Kelly Ng
Posted by ezyhealth on Nov 6 2014. Filed under Myth Busters. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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