If Not From My Family, Where Did My Psoriasis Come From?

When I go to my doctor, one of the first things I'm usually asked is about my family’s history. This is a smart question as they are considering risk factors of heart disease, diabetes, blood pressure, high cholesterol, and mental illness, to name a few.

How did this happen to me? When it came to my chronic psoriasis diagnosis, I was always a bit puzzled. You see, all my doctors were telling me that this disease is genetic and it occurs more commonly in relatives of the one that has it. Yet, no one in my family has it. I was told that psoriasis can begin with a gene mutation that is passed down generations. In an effort for answers, I have researched several generations and found that no one in my lineage has had psoriasis. So, how did it get passed down to me? How did this happen to me? I didn’t sign up for this.There is more to consider than genetics...Of course, I have done my research. I was desperate for an answer. I found myself wondering if my environment or background could have triggered my psoriasis. You see, I grew up on a farm, around animals. Could their fur have triggered an outbreak? Did I eat something that caused an autoimmune response? Did a playmate give it to me? What was it, at the age of 5 that cause me to go to sleep one night and wake up the next day covered in scales?Of course, the other question that comes to mind is, why didn’t my two sisters get this disease? Why didn’t my mother and father have it, my grandparents? Why doesn’t anyone in my family have it? They say that knowledge is power. Managing this condition has set me out on a quest to find answers and support research for a cure for this disease. I have 4 grandchildren, who don’t have psoriasis; but aren't my genes passed from me to them?What else should we consider?Raising awareness and participating in psoriasis advocacy almost feels like a calling that has been placed upon my heart. I am able to educate others as a result of my research. Psoriasis is a chronic inflammatory disease that can itch, burn, has thick scaly plaques and can be very painful. There are also comorbidities to consider. In addition to my psoriasis, I have developed psoriatic arthritis -an inflammatory joint condition. Over the past year. I have started taking pain pills along with my regular medication to improve my quality of life. I know that left untreated this disease can be very miserable. Over the years, I have added in some exercise to help me cope with stiffness in my joints. Exercise has been very important to me in my overall health and in keeping joints flexible. I find that doing some walking is a great way to keep the muscles and joints from stiffening up. I actually tried relaxing in the water which seems to be a great way to make the skin feel better.A better person because of itSo, where did I get this disease from? Maybe it goes further back through generations than I can find. Maybe someone had it and didn't know what it was. Although I didn’t sign up for this disease, I can confidently say, it has made me the person that I am today. I am overall healthier - I try to take care of myself, eat right, exercise and get proper rest. I am also more sensitive - this condition has allowed me to see people from the inside, first.I am a better person because of it. At the end of the day, genetics or just bad luck, I do know I am here to advocate and educate others about psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis. I’m going to fight for others who can’t fight for themselves.

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