Mahaska Health Partnership Educates on Psoriasis
In recognition of August as National Psoriasis Awareness Month, Mahaska Health Partnership sheds light on the most common autoimmune disease in the country.
According to the National Psoriasis Foundation (NPF), psoriasis is a chronic autoimmune disease that occurs on the skin. It is caused by the accelerated growth of skin cells. The most common form of psoriasis, plaque psoriasis, appears as red, raised patches covered with white dead skin cells.
“Psoriasis can be a nuisance for some people and a disabling disease for others,” MHP Family Practice Physician Nick Messamer, MD, said. “You may have periods when your psoriasis symptoms improve or go into remission, alternating with times your condition worsens.”
Most types of psoriasis go through cycles, flaring for a few weeks or months, then subsiding for a time. In most cases, however, the disease eventually returns.
There is no cure for psoriasis, but there are treatments for the disease that may offer significant relief. The most important thing to remember is that psoriasis is not contagious. Certain nonprescription cortisone creams and light exposure to natural sunlight can help to improve and control symptoms.
“The goal of psoriasis treatment is to interrupt the cycle that causes the rapid skin cell production,” explained Dr. Messamer. “Reducing inflammation and removing the scales to smooth the skin helps to decrease the irritation and visible effects.”
The NPF states that psoriasis is associated with elevated risks for other serious, chronic and life threatening conditions, including diabetes, stroke, cancer and cardiovascular disease. As much as 30 percent of people with psoriasis will be diagnosed with psoriatic arthritis, an inflammatory arthritis that causes pain and swelling of the joints and tendons. The emotional, social and physical restrictions of psoriatic arthritis can prove to be debilitating.
If you are experiencing these symptoms, schedule an appointment with your healthcare provider to help manage your psoriasis and determine the best plan of action for your individual diagnosis.