LivingPsoriasis, can it be spread?

Psoriasis, can it be spread?

Psoriasis is a chronic inflammatory disease of unknown cause, with great clinical and evolutionary variability, caused by too rapid multiplication of skin cells.

This excessive growth of cells gives rise to the lesions typical of psoriasis, appearing erythematous (red) plaques, covered by white scales. The most frequent locations are elbows, knees, lower back and scalp.

Anyone can develop this autoimmune disease that affects more than 125 million people in the world , and more than 1.2 million in Spain. The latest studies indicate that psoriasis has a bimodal onset, with the first peak occurring between 16 and 22 years and the second between 57 and 60 years.

How can I recognize that I have psoriasis?

There is no single cause that triggers the onset of the disease. From the Spanish Academy of Dermatology and Venereology they describe that ” the possible causes of psoriasis” I would add “are” of a genetic, immunological, environmental and psychological nature “there are studies in which they refer that 40% of psoriasis cases have a history previous relative.

These factors that trigger the disease alter the normal functioning of epidermal cells, especially keratinocytes and fibroblasts, causing alterations in the skin that can manifest differently in each person.

Globally, psoriasis can present in a mild, moderate and severe form. Dermatologists use tools to objectively assess the severity of psoriasis such as morphological criteria (extent of psoriasis) as well as the degree of erythema and scale .

But, without a doubt, the severity of psoriasis is related to the patient’s ability to cope with their disease and therefore, the key question would be : how is the patient coping with the disease?

As I have mentioned before, the signs and symptoms can vary from one person to another but globally and more common would be:

  • Reddish skin plates covered in thick, silvery scales
  • Small scaly dots (commonly seen in children)
  • Dry, cracked skin that may bleed or itch.
  • Itching, burning or irritation.
  • Thickened, pitted or grooved nails.
  • Swollen and stiff joints.

There are also different types of psoriasis, the most common is called “plaque psoriasis”. Dry, raised, red patches of skin (lesions) occur. Plaques may be itchy or tender, and there may be few or many.

Another type of psoriasis that can be hidden and not talked about on many occasions is the reverse, which affects the folds of the skin of the groin, buttocks or breasts. But without a doubt, the most commonly affected areas are the lower back, the elbows, the knees, the legs, the soles of the feet, the scalp, the face and the palms of the hands.

Most types of psoriasis go through cycles, with flare-ups lasting weeks or months, then subsiding or even going into remission.

Psoriasis that cannot be seen 

There is a part of psoriasis that is not seen but that is really important to take into account. Sometimes, we think that only what is visible to the eyes is the most important, but the psoriasis that we see is only the superficial part.

Psoriasis is a systemic inflammatory disease that can affect other organs of our body. The most prevalent diseases associated with it are psoriatic arthritis, cardiovascular diseases through their main risk factors (obesity, diabetes mellitus, high blood pressure, dyslipidemia and metabolic syndrome), non-alcoholic fatty liver and inflammatory bowel disease, among others.

Early detection and adequate treatment of these diseases are important, since it could prevent their evolution to more acute phases.

From the Spanish Association of Psoriasis Patients in Network , its president Celia Marín highlights the importance of proper diagnosis and control of the disease by the specialist in Dermatology: “ Psoriasis patients frequently downplay their disease due to ignorance of the impact it can have in their long-term health, for fear of facing a pathology that will accompany them for the rest of their lives or for embarrassment to show their skin

The stigma that accompanies psoriasis remains in 2022 one of the biggest challenges to overcome. Patients are rejected because many people mistakenly believe that psoriasis can be spread and this causes great suffering in people who limit their personal, social and work activities.
The president continues to emphasize ” raising awareness in society and especially in health professionals of the real importance of this disease so that it is properly treated with the safest and most effective treatments that our public system offers us and the enormous negative impact is not underestimated of psoriasis in the quality of life of patients and their families

At Psoriasis en Red they are all patients and volunteers and we encourage all people who suffer from this harsh condition to go to a specialist to help them control the disease, share their experiences with other patients, feel accompanied, do not isolate themselves or hide and show your skin.

Psychological affectation in psoriasis

The skin plays an important role in socialization processes and when we talk about psoriasis and its skin lesions, they can develop a sense of vulnerability, insecurity and even loss of body image.

It is a chronic disease and these people may have a feeling of insecurity and fragility, together with ideas and thoughts that life is slipping away from them. They may feel, in part, unable to keep up with the pace they followed before.

Mental health is affected, since there is a clear negative influence on different psychological spheres such as self-esteem, confidence and quality of life. For all this, it is important to know how to identify changes in our mood to request help if necessary.

Bibliographic references

Spanish Academy of Dermatology and Venereology. 2021. Guide for patients with psoriasis.

Asociación Psoriasis en Red. 2020. Psoriasis that cannot be seen.

Gudiño Villarreal, NA, García Vélez, YT, Estévez Angulo, BA, & Díaz Recalde, EX (2022). Psoriasis, diagnosis and treatment. RECIAMUC, 6(1), 311-318.

Puig-Sanz, L. 2007. Psoriasis, a systemic disease?. Actas Dermo-Sifiliografías, 98(6), 396-402.

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