Speak Clearly: Perspectives on Psoriasis

Under the Skin with the Science of Psoriasis

November 20, 2019
Written by AbbVie

Managing your psoriasis is possible
As a chronic condition, there is no cure to psoriasis but recent advancements in disease management mean the signs and symptoms can be controlled.1 And while the exact cause of psoriasis is unknown, research has shown both a person’s immune system and their genetics play a role.2 Psoriasis often appears between ages 15-35 and affects both men and women equally.2

Psoriasis is more than skin deep
Psoriasis is first and foremost a disease of the immune system.2 This means its characteristic plaques are formed due to an immune system response happening underneath the skin.3-6 Skin cells are activated by pathogenic, or inflammation-inducing cells causing skin cells to grow rapidly, forming plaques.3-6 This process becomes a self-perpetuating cycle, contributing to the chronic nature of the disease.3-6 

This inflammation can also result in other, related conditions: psoriatic arthritis (impacts the joints), nail psoriasis (characterized by changes in the nail bed such as pitting), Crohn’s disease (inflammation of the digestive tract), metabolic disease (increased blood pressure, high blood sugar, excess body fat).1,2 

It is important to talk to your doctor about all your symptoms—not just your skin—so they can best manage your disease. Get some tips on how to start this conversation.  

What kind of psoriasis do you have? 
There are four common types of psoriasis:

  • Plaque psoriasis (or psoriasis vulgaris): This is the most common form of psoriasis, affecting between 58 to 97 percent of people with psoriasis. It is characterized by inflamed, patches of excess skin called plaques. 1,2 Plaques typically manifest on the scalp, elbows and knees—though they can appear anywhere.1,2
  • Guttate psoriasis: Usually first appearing in childhood and adolescence, guttate psoriasis appears on the skin as small, reddish, drop-like plaques. This type of psoriasis normally pops up along with an infection, such as strep throat.1,2 
  • Inverse psoriasis: This form of psoriasis appears in the folds of the body, such as the knee, armpit or groin. It is usually very red and may appear smooth and shiny. Many people who have this psoriasis also have another type somewhere else on their body.1,2
  • Pustular psoriasis: Characterized by white blisters surrounded by white skin, this type of psoriasis often involves small areas of the body (such as the hands or feet). These blisters are filled with a non-infectious pus made up of white blood cells.1,2 

Your doctor is the best resource to help you understand which type of psoriasis you have. See other important topics to discuss with your doctor here.

Psoriasis can affect your mind, too
Because the symptoms of psoriasis are so visible, they can also impact mental and emotional health.1 Many people living with psoriasis have embarrassment, lack of self-esteem, anxiety and increased prevalence of depression stemming from their condition.1 People with psoriasis have reported experiencing a wide range of impacts on their:1

  • Emotional life: Up to 98%
  • Family life: 70% 
  • Career: 68% 
  • Education: 21% 
  • Sexual intimacy: 17% 

It can be hard to talk about the specific details of how your psoriasis impacts your mental and emotional health, but it is important to talk to your doctor about all of the ways your psoriasis impacts your daily life so they can have a complete understanding of your disease and determine the best psoriasis management plan for you. Not sure how to start the discussion? Use this guide to help get you started. 

If you have psoriasis, you are not alone. 
Psoriasis impacts more than 125 million people worldwide, which is about 3% of the entire world’s population.3 Hear from others living with psoriasis and how they’ve been empowered to speak up, connect with others and demand more here.

References:

  1. Global Report on Psoriasis. World Health Organization. 2016. Available at: http://apps.who.int/iris/bitstream/10665/204417/1/9789241565189_eng.pdf. Accessed July 3, 2019.
  2. International Federation of Psoriasis Associations. Available at: https://ifpa-pso.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/01/Brochure-Psoriasis-is-a-serious-disease-deserving-global-attention.pdf. Accessed July 3, 2019.
  3. Hawkes JE, et al. J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2017;140(3):645-653.
  4. Kim J, Krueger JG. Dermatol Clin. 2015;33(1):13-23.
  5. Gaffen SL, et al. Nat Rev Immunol. 2014;14(9):585-600.
  6. Cai Y, et al. Cell Mol Immunol. 2012;9(4):302-309.

Get clear with your doctor

You deserve to feel confident in your skin, but how do you have a clear conversation with your doctor? Sometimes speaking up can be the hardest part. 

Get the tips

Your voice makes a difference

Be clear about your goals. The power to speak up, feel confident and demand the best care is within you. Sharing your story could be your next step to feeling free from psoriasis—and possibly inspire others to do the same.

Submit your story

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