According to the National Psoriasis Foundation, men and women encounter psoriasis at the same rates. That being said, all genders tend to hide their conditions due to the stigma of the disease. A few months ago we covered 7 Women Who Are Defeating Psoriasis by Blogging. Now it’s the men's turn! Check out these four guys who are not ashamed of their disease and their advice for living well -- and unashamed.
Steven has dealt with severe psoriasis for the past four decades. He was first diagnosed in the late 70s a time when psoriasis was not well understood. Until the mid-'80s the only treatment options available for psoriasis patients were phototherapy, methotrexate, and two steroids by the name of Lidex and UpJon’s Psorcon, many of which are still used today. In 2013 Steven decided to start his blog, which provides resources for psoriasis patients.
_ Credit: Steven Fernandaz_
A tight support system
A strong support system is imperative when you have any chronic illness. For Steven, his parents were his biggest cheerleaders. “They have always understood, supported and stood beside me," he says. (Check out these four questions you should ask if you have a loved one with a chronic disease.) You can also find Steven as an admin in the popular psoriasis Facebook group Overcoming Psoriasis.
Twenty-four years of Todd’s life have been plagued by psoriasis. (He was diagnosed at the age of 20.) Todd has learned to cope with the disease by engulfing himself in psoriasis advocacy, and has dedicated his life to educating the world about psoriasis and mentoring patients with the disease. The number one comorbidity reported by psoriasis suffers is depression, something Todd is unfortunately familiar with. “For me the hardest part about having psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis is the chronic pain, slipping in and out of depression, and finding a medication that works.”
_ Credit: Todd Bello_
Try new things
Todd suggests a few ways to cope with the disease. “Consistently try new things and never give up. Exercise, nutrition, and coping skills. Keeping a good sense of humor and being able to live in the moment…” You can find him as Todd Bello on Twitter and Facebook and don’t forget to check out his Facebook community page, servicing over 3,500 psoriasis patients.
Mike’s favorite quote is from Thomas Edison: “Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is to try just one more time." One thing Mike has certainly not done is give up. At his worst Mike has had 80 percent of his body covered by psoriasis. He is now keeping his psoriasis under control with biologics. Check out this article on how biologics can be beneficial for psoriasis patients to decide if this method is right for you.
Find a mentor
Whether you are a newly diagnosed patient or have had psoriasis for years, Mike suggests the best way to defeat this disease is by getting involved with advocacy through the National Psoriasis Foundation and finding a psoriasis mentor.
“Speaking with someone who has been through this makes it so much easier,” he says.
Derek is a 30-year-old who has dealt with psoriasis since the age of 7. What makes him unique is he is a person of color dealing with the disease. [Not "unique." Rare. Rephrase to something like, "Derek's case is rare, in that he is a person of color dealing with the disease.] According to a study conducted by the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology only 1.9 percent of African Americans are affected by the disease, compared with almost 4 percent of Caucasians. (Possible factors for some of that discrepancy could include access to good health care and misdiagnoses of more common diseases like eczema.) Derek says that his journey with psoriasis has been "difficult, emotional, and introspective.”
Loving yourself in a deeper way
Studies have found that many with psoriasis have a negative self-image. But Derek says that his disease has actually increased his own self-appreciation. He advises that those with psoriasis should surround themselves with people who are positive and who embrace the beauty of flaws.
About Psoriasis: https://www.psoriasis.org/about-psoriasis
Psoriasis Treatment History Timeline: https://worldhistoryproject.org/topics/psoriasis-treatment-history
Psoriasis in Patients With Skin of Color: http://dermatologytimes.modernmedicine.com/dermatology-times/RC/psoriasis-patients-skin-color
Alisha Bridges has battled with severe psoriasis for over 20 years and is the face behind Being Me in My Own Skin, a blog which highlights her life with psoriasis. Her goals are to create empathy and compassion for those who are least understood, through transparency of self, patient advocacy, and healthcare. She is currently a student at Georgia State University pursuing a career as a Physician's Assistance—her passions are dermatology and sexual health. Alisha also shares her passion as a Social Ambassador of the Psoriasis HealthCentral Facebook page where she shares timely tips, stories and insights on living with psoriasis. You can also find Alisha on Twitter.