Three Things I’ve Learned Since Being Diagnosed With Psoriasis
I was first diagnosed with psoriasis when I was age 11. My first symptoms presented on my scalp. My mom noticed it and decided to take me to the doctor. The doctor confirmed it was psoriasis.
The wisdom that comes living with psoriasis over the years
When I became a teenager a few years later, my psoriasis wasn’t just covering my scalp. It became visible on other parts of the body, including the stomach, thighs, legs, and arms. It was very bad. I had periods where I couldn’t get a haircut and felt too ashamed to go swimming or do any recreational activity that involved exposing parts of my body.
What I want to say, however, is that it does get better. With time and with the right treatments, I have found relief from my psoriasis plaques. I want to share with you what I’ve learned since being diagnosed with this disease.
It can take time to find the right treatment
Firstly, it can take time to find the right treatment. I have been on countless medications, ointments, and creams over the years. Some have helped the itching sensations, while others have been good at dislodging the scales, but only a few have really passed my test in clearing the disease.
Phototherapy was one treatment that worked. I developed a tan and the scales and redness went away. But shortly after stopping, the psoriasis patches came back. I’ve had a couple of rounds of phototherapy, and that has been the case each time, so it didn’t work out for me.
Corticosteroids worked at clearing some minor patches. Particularly when combined with creams and ointments, they can be effective. But, like the phototherapy, the condition came back when I stopped using them, so it proved ineffective.
The most successful treatments I have been on which have given me sustained clearance for a period of time have been biologic injections. I have been on three so far: Stelara, Cosentyx, and the current one, Skyrizi. All have helped to clear the symptoms. Stelara was the least effective, giving me only some clearance with symptoms returning, while Cosentyx gave me complete clearance, but I started having trouble with side effects and some psoriasis patches returned. Skyrizi has been very good, but some stubborn patches do remain with this as well. Overall, I am happy with the Skyrizi though.
There’s still ignorance about this condition out there
Whether it stares while taking public transport or rude remarks said to me in the street, there is still some ignorance around when it comes to psoriasis.
Some people do believe that the disease is catching, even though this has been debunked by scientists. It’s not so much that they understand the condition, but merely that they see the patches and think you can pass it on to them.
Other people will stare, particularly if your psoriasis is in a visible area of your body, such as on the face or arms. It takes a lot to shrug this off and a stare can ruin your day, but just remember that it’s not your fault and you’re doing your best with what you can do.
Some people will actually make a rude remark about your skin. In these situations, it’s best to try and laugh it off. But if you want, you could try and educate the person and say it’s just a skin condition and can’t be passed on. I know from my own experience that receiving a rude remark can really ruin your day and place greater emphasis on your skin than you had been trying to avoid.
It’s so much more than a skin condition
When you get a psoriasis diagnosis, your doctor will probably tell you it’s a life-long condition, but not that it is so much more than that.
There are several comorbidities that come with psoriasis, including mental health problems, fatigue, and others. Depending on the severity of your psoriasis and how it impacts you will depend on what other conditions you may or may not get.
One condition to be particularly aware of is psoriatic arthritis. This is known to affect some people who also have a psoriasis diagnosis, so it makes you at risk if you have psoriasis.
While psoriasis is primarily a skin problem, psoriatic arthritis affects the joints and can make them become swollen and painful. Nail changes such as pitting of the nails can be one risk factor for psoriatic arthritis, so consult your doctor if you are concerned.
Where on your body does psoriasis bother you the most?