The Consequences of Leaving Your Psoriasis Untreated
Most times when you see a commercial about psoriasis, often portrayed are individuals living with the disease who are sad about not being able to visit the barbershop due to fear of having to explain their scalp psoriasis, they avoid wearing black, or they are deeply insecure about wearing certain clothes due to possible stares. Due to the content of these commercials if you didn't know anything about psoriasis you would think it's a skin disease that only comes with cosmetic consequences, which couldn't be further from the truth. Oftentimes when I encounter people who aren't familiar with the disease and I tell them I have it, they ask me what's the big deal? I go on to explain that psoriasis is an autoimmune disease which affects my entire body, the part visible to the eye is just one symptom of many they can see.
It's not just about clear skin
I used to think that achieving psoriasis clear skin was the most important factor so I could wear what I wanted. All I wanted to do was go shopping without overthinking, sit at the pool without being questioned, feel the sun rays on my almond toasted skin without being self-conscious, and wear a short sleeve shirt without being a walking build board for psoriasis. To me, those things were freedom.
Risk for psoriasis comorbidities
As I entered into the research side as a patient advocate I quickly learned to find an effective treatment was more than the freedom of wearing a pair of shorts without someone asking you if what they see is contagious. The National Psoriasis Foundation states there are at least 10 other comorbidities associated with psoriasis1 which include:
- Arthritis aka, psoriatic disease
- Uveitis, inflammation of the eye
- Liver disease
- Crohn's Disease
- Kidney Disease
- Infections, from scratching1
As you can see, psoriasis is skin deep and leaving your disease untreated puts you at a higher risk of encountering other diseases mentioned above. 30%-40% of people living with psoriasis will develop problems with the joints also known as arthritis, in this case not finding an effective treatment puts you at risk for irreversible joint damage.
What happens when psoriasis is left untreated?
There are many reasons why people neglect properly treating their psoriasis which includes:
- Being afraid of potential side effects
- No access to proper care due to lack of insurance or other factors
- Feels as though their condition is not severe enough to treat
- Can't afford treatment
- Lost hope due to failed treatments or frustrations with doctors
I use to be one of those people afraid of using biologics because of the potential side effects, but after failing the less progressive treatments again and again, and learning the long-term damage of living with psoriasis and not treating it, I decided to take the risk for more aggressive treatment options like injections. So far so good, but only time will tell.
Have you ever been in a phase with your psoriasis where you weren't treating? What was your reasons for going without treatment? Was it anything listed above? Share your thoughts with us on Facebook.
Where on your body does psoriasis bother you the most?