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Topic 6: Myths and Facts about Psoriasis
Welcome to DOC2US Psoriasis Health Tips Section! Hope you enjoyed our previous article on Psoriasis Self-care and let's explore further on another topic related to psoriasis.
Based on the prevalence of psoriasis, it is common we hear myths being spread around psoriasis. Join us in uncovering the truth behind these myths and correct them!
Myth #1: Psoriasis is contagious
Fact #1: This is one of the most common myths surrounding psoriasis that is entirely false.1 Psoriasis is an autoimmune disease in which there is a glitch in our immune system that cause our body’s immune system to attack our healthy cells and as a result cause a rapid build up of cells.1 Hence, psoriasis is not contagious and can’t be transmitted through person-to-person contact or by sharing of bodily fluids.3 For instance, psoriasis is not transferable through the sharing of food or drinks, hugging, swimming in the same pools or being in close proximity with a psoriasis patient directly.1,2
Image credit: Cleveland Clinic
Myth #2: Psoriasis is the same as eczema
Fact #2: While psoriasis and eczema are sometimes mistaken for each other due to their similarities in appearance as well as the overlapping signs and symptoms (discoloured skin, rash, itching and burning sensation),3 they are actually very different from one another. A dermatologist is able to identify some important distinctions between these two entirely different skin conditions.3
The main differences between psoriasis and eczema are the intensity of itch, location of affected areas and their triggers. For instance, psoriasis usually results in a milder itching compared to eczema whose itch can be pretty intense.4 In terms of the location of affected areas, psoriasis is characterised by silvery scales and is found affecting areas at the scalp, outside of the elbows and knees whereas eczema most often occurs in the folds (inside) of the elbows and knees.2 On top of that, psoriasis could be inherited if either one parent or both parents are infected.4 Eczema on the other hand is often associated with an allergy reaction.2
Image credit: The Healthy
Myth #3: There’s only one type of psoriasis
Fact #3: Contrary to the common misconception that psoriasis is a condition in itself with no variation,2 there are actually several types of psoriasis which differs based on its individual signs and symptoms and location of the affected areas.1 The five main types of psoriasis are:5
Image credit: Types of Psoriasis
Myth #4: Psoriasis only affects one part of the body, especially the skin
Fact #4: Psoriasis may occur anywhere on the body, but most commonly affects the scalp, knees, elbows, lower back, legs, palms and soles of the feet.6 Patients may also experience psoriasis in more than one location at the same time such as having plaques on their scalps and changes in structure of the nails.7 Generally, psoriasis occurs in “cycles” which may sometimes be accompanied with potential increase in symptoms that will eventually subside after a period of time.2
Moreover, psoriasis patients may also experience other common complications such as psoriatic arthritis, an inflammation condition from psoriasis that causes joint pain, swelling and stiffness in the hands and feet. 3
Image credit: Healthline
Myth #5: Psoriasis is caused by poor hygiene and can be prevented
Fact #5: Psoriasis is definitely not caused by poor hygiene. In fact, people with psoriasis tend to devote greater attention to their skin care routine.2
Nonetheless, there are still practices that we can implement to prevent the common risk factors for psoriasis such as losing weight and reducing stress levels, minimising alcohol consumption and quitting smoking.1 To read more on the common triggers of psoriasis, feel free to check our previous article https://www.doc2us.com/topic-5-self-care-for-psoriasis-patients-general!
Losing Weight Can Help in Reducing Risk Factor for Psoriasis
Image credit: The Times of India
Myth #6: Psoriasis is here to stay
Fact #6: There has been lots of medical progress over the years that noted psoriasis can be well-treated with proper consultation by your healthcare professional at the specialist clinics, general practitioner clinic or even pharmacies. For example, you may be given medications and even healthy lifestyle changes.8 These will help in alleviating the symptoms of psoriasis and subsequently improve quality of life, allowing psoriasis patients to integrate back into the community such as being able to work again and feeling comfortable socialising with others.
The current treatment options available for psoriasis range from oral medications to cream or ointment-based medications and injections. Your doctor will be able to recommend the right treatment for you.
Image credit: OnHealth
Myth #7: Psoriasis does not begin at childhood
Fact #7: Although psoriasis is more commonly seen in adults, children can also be affected by psoriasis. This is because psoriasis may affect anyone despite their age or skin type, including children. According to recent studies, the development of psoriasis in childhood is quite common with some adult psoriasis patients reporting that their symptoms started showing up since childhood. Psoriasis may occur in children in age 6 to 10 years old for males and 10 to 14 years old for females.8
Image credit to: Medovie
Myth #8: Only steroid cream and lotions are useful in treating psoriasis.
Fact #8: Topical steroids are usually given for psoriasis patients for its anti-inflammatory effects. However, it should be avoided for long-term usage due to many harmful side effects such as skin thinning, skin discoloration, easy bruising and stretch marks.8
On the other hand, there are also other alternatives that can help treat psoriasis. This includes moisturisers which are applied directly to the skin to reduce water loss and cover it with a protective film; vitamin D analogue creams that slows the production of skin cells and has anti-inflammatory effect; phototherapy which uses natural and artificial light to treat psoriasis; and systemic treatments (biological and non-biological) that work throughout the entire body to slow down the production of skin cells and reduce inflammation.9
Before starting treatment, talk to your doctor about your treatment options and any risks associated with them.
Image credit: Healthline
Have you read our previous article: Self Care for Psoriasis Patients (General)? Click here to know more https://www.doc2us.com/topic-5-self-care-for-psoriasis-patients-general
CP-339166 November 2022
A WORD FROM DOC2US
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