Not sure how many of you are "Keeping up with the Kardashians" but in a recent episode, Kim Kardashian goes to the dermatologist for what looks like a rash on her legs. Sister Khloe thinks it is ringworm. It turns out that Kim’s sister is wrong. The dermatologist gives Kim the news that this "rash" is really psoriasis. Many people who develop psoriasis mistake it for other skin conditions such as eczema or ringworm. The news is devastating to Kim, who worries that her modeling career will be in jeopardy. Psoriasis is an autoimmune skin disease which can causes red scaly patches that itch and may even bleed. Although there may be times of remission, it is considered a life-long disorder with no cure.
Kim Kardashian is not the first celebrity to be diagnosed with psoriasis. Country music singer LeAnn Rimes has talked openly about her psoriasis in an interview with Health Central contributor, Heather Durocher. Other celebrities who have been diagnosed with psoriasis include comedian Jon Lovitz and CariDee English, winner of cycle 7 of America’s Next Top Model. The National Psoriasis Foundation estimates that as many as 7.5 million Americans have psoriasis making it one of the most common autoimmune diseases in the country. It affects men, women, children, and even celebrities.
The age at which psoriasis first manifests varies for each individual and one third of those diagnosed with this skin disease are less than twenty years of age. But for many others the disease can begin later in life even in one’s thirties. Kim happens to be the same age (30) as her mother, Kris Jenner, was when she too was diagnosed with psoriasis. According to the National Psoriasis Foundation there can be a genetic component to developing psoriasis: "Scientists now believe that at least 10 percent of the general population inherits one or more of the genes that create a predisposition to psoriasis. However, only 2 percent to 3 percent of the population develops the disease." Kim Kardashian is quick to blame mom and her genes for her condition. In the episode of their family reality TV program entitled "Kardashians: Don’t be too Rash" Kim lashes out at mom by telling her that she is "the disease carrier." That’s not very fair to mom now is it?
Like many people who are diagnosed with psoriasis, Kim Kardashian reacts with emotions which are part of grieving. She is shocked, angry, sad, and maybe in a little bit of denial. Kim’s dermatologist tells her that one of the triggers for psoriasis is stress. When he suggests that the best way to manage her condition is to lead a ‘slower-paced life’ her retort is ‘It’s just not possible.’ It will be interesting to see if this celebrity takes her doctor’s advice in the months to come.
While there is no cure for psoriasis there are many possible treatment options and ways to manage this condition. In many ways Kim Kardashian could become an excellent spokesperson for this skin disease. She is one of the most photographed celebrities and she could use her publicity to create more awareness of this condition. I think it took a lot of courage for her to be so open about her new diagnosis. I am sure many of us will be eager to see how Kim Kardashian learns to cope with and manage her psoriasis.
Doctor Lawrence Green, who is one of our medical advisors here on MySkinCareConnection, has recently been interviewed by ABC News Health about Kim Kardashian’s psoriasis diagnosis. Doctor Green knows a lot about psoriasis as he is not only a dermatologist and member of the board of trustees at the National Psoriasis Foundation but he also suffers from this condition himself. In watching the video clip of Kim Kardashian at the dermatologist, Dr. Green suggests that her psoriasis patches could possibly be treated with an ointment or ultraviolet light therapy. Yet he cautions that once a patient is diagnosed with psoriasis it is unknown how severe it can become. Different treatments may have to be used to see how they work over time. The good news is that psoriasis can be effectively treated. The first step in treatment is to be seen by your dermatologist.
For more information about psoriasis management and treatment please read our many articles on this topic:
I am a mother, a writer, and now an MS patient