Psoriasis affects roughly 7.5 million people in the US, according to the American Academy of Dermatology. This chronic skin condition causes red, itchy patches and thick grayish-white scales on the skin’s surface, making this a physically uncomfortable and emotionally challenging condition. Although there is no cure for psoriasis at this time, there are ways for those who have it to manage their condition.
The National Psoriasis Foundation (NPF) is also providing a way for people to help raise money to find a cure, with the annual Walk to Cure Psoriasis.
The underlying cause of psoriasis hasn’t been fully determined, but health experts believe that it is associated with the immune system. When cells that usually fight harmful substances in the body start attacking normal skin cells, it causes other reactions, including higher skin cell production. The cells build up on the skin’s surface, causing patches and scales. Certain things can trigger psoriasis outbreaks, such as stress, injuries and cold weather.
There is more than one type of psoriasis, but the most common is plaque psoriasis, which causes red skin lesions with grayish-white scales. Other types include guttate psoriasis, inverse psoriasis and erythrodermic psoriasis, which is a serious form of this skin condition. Some people also develop psoriatic arthritis, which causes painful joints.
There are several risk factors associated with psoriasis, including a family history of it, bacterial infections, viral infections, obesity and smoking.
Those who have psoriasis can learn to manage their condition in order to reduce flare ups and receive medical treatment as needed. Treatment options for psoriasis include:
Topical medication. These include corticosteroids, retinoids and vitamin D3. Although these types of medications can be effective, they have certain drawbacks. For example, corticosteroids cannot be used on a long-term basis.
Light therapy. Doctors can administer light therapy to relieve psoriasis. This involves exposing patients to artificial UV light through UVB phototherapy or a combination of UVA phototherapy and topical medication. Exposure to sunlight can also help reduce skin inflammation and scaling.
Skin care products. There are several skin care products available, but they are not equally effective. The most effective types address the vulnerabilities of the skin barrier including lipid deficiency, pH abnormality, inflammation, calcium gradients and chemical sensitivities.
Working Toward a Psoriasis Cure
The National Psoriasis Foundation is encouraging people in the Boston area to take part in the Walk to Cure Psoriasis on Sept. 20th. This walk will start at DCR’s Mother’s Rest at Carson Beach, and participants can choose to follow either a 1K or 5K route. There is no competition involved in this event.
Those who do the walk will help raise money that will go toward supporting research that aims to find a cure, so that those who are affected by this condition can enjoy a psoriasis free life.
The event’s organizers are hoping to raise at least $35,000.
Those who want to participate can register online or at 9am on the day of the walk. The walk then begins at 10am. There will also be other fun and educational activities held that day, including a health fair on psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis, live entertainment, raffles and things for children to enjoy.