5 Common Misconceptions About Psoriasis
Psoriasis affects approximately 7.5 million people in the U.S., but there are still many misconceptions about what it is, what causes it and how it is treated. Education about the condition is important in helping the public better understand those living with it, as well as helping eliminate the stigma surrounding the condition.
Because psoriasis can cause red, flaky patches to appear on the skin, some people associate the symptoms with chicken pox and assume that they can “catch” the disease. Bottom line: psoriasis is not contagious.
Although the symptoms of psoriasis appear on the skin, psoriasis is more than a skin condition. Psoriasis is considered to be a chronic autoimmune disease, meaning that part of the body’s immune system becomes overactive and attacks normal body tissues.
Psoriasis causes patches of thick red skin, which can appear anywhere from the elbows and knees to the scalp and even the fingernails. Sometimes psoriasis can be hidden by wearing long pants and sleeves, but it can be difficult to hide, especially if the patches become painful and itchy.
Before psoriasis can be diagnosed, doctors have to rule out other possibilities, including skin conditions such as eczema or rosacea, or rashes caused by an allergic reaction. It is likely that many people who have psoriasis don’t know they have it.
Currently, there is no cure for psoriasis. However, there are many treatments available that have been shown to be effective in helping manage the condition. Because the effectiveness of treatments can diminish over time, it is important for patients to work with their doctor to make any necessary alterations in the treatment.