Psoriasis affects 6.7 million Americans. When one thinks about Psoriasis, they don't automatically think that it is considered an autoimmune disorder. However, with the way Psoriasis impacts your system, it shows the characteristics of an autoimmune disorder. Here's how:
When you have Psoriasis, your T-cells (specialized white blood cells) incorrectly identify the cells on your skin as invaders, and lodge an attack on them. This causes extensive damage to the skin cells, which causes a number of responses in your immune system. As a result, people with Psoriasis end up with visible damage on the skin, in the form of swelling, scaling, and reddening.
In an attempt to heal the damage, the skin begins to rapidly reduce new skin cells. These skin cells try to push their way to the surface of the skin. Because the older skin cells aren't shed fast enough, they pile onto a person's skin surface. That's where you may see red, thick silvery scales on the surface of the skin.
Who is at risk for Psoriasis?
Anyone who has a first-degree family member with Psoriasis is at risk. Individuals who are fighting off infections like strep throat may also be at risk for Psoriasis. Other risk factors include Stress, Medications, and Skin Injuries (sunburn).
Men and women are at equal risk for Psoriasis. Adults are more likely to get it than children.
How is Psoriasis treatment?
After your doctor has examined you and put you through tests to confirm the diagnosis, he or she will begin treatment. Treatment usually consists of immunosuppressant's, and medication, such as Humira and Enbrel. Treatment changes from person to person, so what might work for you, may not work for someone else. It is important to stay in contact with your doctor while you are being treated.
The CDC conducts biomedical and clinical research on Psoriasis in order to better understand the disease, better diagnose it, and better treat it.
I don't have Psoriasis, but I know people who do have it. It is an illness that can damage one's self-esteem, due to the physical remarks of the disease on the skin. If you are struggling emotionally, contact your doctor right away.
For more information on Psoriasis, visit the National Psoriasis Foundation here.