Psoriasis is not contagious, although the emotional scars it often leaves can also negatively impact a patient’s loved ones.
Psoriasis is common, with as many as 7.5 million Americans affected, according to the U.S. National Institutes of Health.
Health and Lifestyle Concerns
There is no precise figure on what percentage of those with psoriasis also have psoriatic arthritis, but it is believed to range somewhere between 10% and 35%. Psoriatic arthritis is a chronic, progressive and potentially debilitating inflammatory disease that causes painful joint inflammation, stiffness, tenderness and tiredness, and can cause bone damage.
Participating in a physical fitness regimen, following a balanced diet, getting adequate rest and sleep, quitting smoking, moderating your alcohol consumption, and avoiding substance abuse of any kind can all contribute to your overall health. This type of healthy lifestyle is especially important for people who have psoriasis. Check with your doctor to see whether any lifestyle changes — at home, work, or school — might help you better manage your psoriasis.
Fortunately, for most people with psoriasis, the disease is mild. They might have patches of dry skin on their elbows or knees and be able to treat it with over-the-counter or prescription creams and lotions.
But for millions of Americans, psoriasis is a daily impediment, one that dramatically and negatively impacts their quality of life. For many, it is debilitating. A National Institute of Mental Health-sponsored study in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology found that “Patients with psoriasis reported reduction in physical functioning and mental functioning comparable to that seen in cancer, arthritis, hypertension, heart disease, diabetes, and depression.” Psoriasis hurts. Psoriasis itches. Some people have extensive coverage—on their arms, legs, trunk, face, and/or genitals.
Plaque psoriasis is the most common type of psoriasis and most often appears on the elbows, knees, scalp and back, although it can appear anywhere on the body, including the hands and feet and genital area. It is often triggered by illness, infections or stress, and is often worse in cold weather, although in other cases it is not possible to determine the cause of an outbreak. One way psoriasis can advance on one’s body is through the Koebner phenomenon, in which skin injury or trauma (or even rough scratching of the skin) can later lead to new spots of psoriasis.
Inverse psoriasis (also called flexural psoriasis) typically occurs in moist areas of the body and in the folds of the skin, including under the breasts or armpits and the genital area. Sweat, friction and body movement can add to the pain and inflammation of inverse psoriasis. It is more common in people who are overweight. It is typically smooth and inflamed, rather than dry and scaly.
Guttate psoriasis is a form of the disease that typically comes on rapidly in a flare of teardrop-shaped spots. About 10% of people with psoriasis will develop guttate psoriasis at some point, although it more often appears in children and young adults. It most often follows a strep throat infection.
This uncommon form of psoriasis usually appears on the hands and feet, with pus-filled sores that resemble blisters. But it can also be a widespread flare that can be life-threatening. One reason to avoid “cold turkey” quitting of corticosteroids is because it can trigger a flare of pustular psoriasis, even in a person with plaque psoriasis. That is why your physician will typically tell you to wean off steroids, rather than quit abruptly.
Erythrodermic psoriasis is a rare, severe and dangerous form of the disease. It usually entails widespread coverage with inflamed areas of skin that are red and painful, and giving off heat. Erythrodermic psoriasis requires prompt medical attention.Psoriasis And Beer
No, psoriasis is not currently curable. Ongoing research is actively making progress on finding better treatments and a possible cure in the future.
What Does The Future Hold?
Psoriasis research is heavily funded and holds great promise for the future. Just the last five to 10 years have brought great strides forward in treatment of the disease with medications aimed at treating the overactive immune system that causes the skin inflammation of psoriasis. Ongoing research is needed to decipher the ultimate underlying cause of this disease.
Erythrodermic psoriasis is a rare, severe and dangerous form of the disease. It usually entails widespread coverage with inflamed areas of skin that are red and painful, and giving off heat. Erythrodermic psoriasis requires prompt medical attention.
Psoriatic arthritis typically involves the skin symptoms of psoriasis (usually plaque or pustular) plus pain, swelling and stiffness in one or more joints. Most people with psoriatic arthritis also have psoriasis of the nails. About one million Americans have psoriatic arthritis. As with psoriasis, psoriatic arthritis can range from mild to severe and debilitating. It can also grow progressively worse, and lead to permanent bone damage. Treatments are now available that have been shown to stop the progression of the disease. Most common in the fingers and toes, psoriatic arthritis can also manifest itself in the back, neck, legs and/or elsewhere.
Psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis can—and should—be treated. Undertreatment of psoriasis appears to be a real problem, but treatment options for patients continue to expand.
Is Psoriasis Contagious?
No, studies have not shown it to be contagious from person to person. You didn’t catch it from anyone and you can’t give it to anyone else by skin to skin contact. You can directly touch someone with psoriasis every day and not ever catch the skin condition.Do I need to make any changes in diet or exercise or how much I rest? Would exercising more make my condition worse, or would it help improve it?
Would losing weight help me?
Can drinking alcohol, smoking, or using drugs affect my psoriasis?
Can climate affect my psoriasis? Should I consider moving?
Are there any changes I can make around my home to help my skin, such as turning down the heat, using a humidifier, installing soft water, or bathing myself or my pets more frequently?
The costs associated with your psoriasis treatment, particularly the cost of some the newer biologic medications, may affect your finances. It’s crucial to find ways to balance your physical health with your financial health. Ask your doctor about ways in which you may be able to offset the cost of your treatment, and follow up with a representative from your insurance company, as necessary:
Everything that is done in the world is done by hope.