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Psoriasis Awareness Month: The Truth Beneath the Skin

August marks Psoriasis Awareness Month, a dedicated time to elevate knowledge about a widespread skin condition that affects millions globally. This collective effort not only increases understanding of the disease but also inspires those with psoriasis to assert control over their health. Let's explore further.

Featured in: August - Awareness Months, Days & Observances.

History and Background of National Psoriasis Awareness Month

psoriasis
Photo by Hans on Needpix.

The National Psoriasis Foundation (NPF) introduced Psoriasis Awareness Month in August 1997. Since then, this annual event has become synonymous with August, a beacon of hope for those grappling with psoriasis.

In 2007, the "Seal of Recognition" program was established to assist individuals with sensitive skin due to psoriasis. This program was a significant step forward in raising awareness about the condition. 

Another notable event occurred in 2014 when the World Health Organization recognized psoriasis as a severe non-communicable disease during their 67th World Health Assembly.

Moreover, this occasion has seen influential voices recount their encounters with the disease. Besides a global report, personal anecdotes and contributions from public figures such as Phil Mickelson and Cyndi Lauper have amplified the event's visibility and resonance with the public. 

Related Read: World Health Day, Stress Awareness Month.

The Cause and Its Challenges

Psoriasis affects many individuals and significantly affects their daily lives. It can happen to anyone at any age, but it tends to present twice in people between 15 and 25 years old and during old age at 55 to 60 years old2.

Around 7.5  million Americans and 2-3% of people worldwide experience this condition. Furthermore, about 30% of people with psoriasis will develop psoriatic arthritis1.

Moreover, psoriasis can also lead to emotional distress. People with psoriasis may experience embarrassment and anxiety due to the visible symptoms of the disorder. 

Why Psoriasis Awareness Month Matters

psoriasis on elbow
Photo by Haley Otman on Wikimedia Commons licensed under CC BY 3.0 (Cropped from original).

Psoriasis has no exact cause, baffling scientists until today. Research points to an insurgent overproduction of T cells and neutrophils. Usually, these white blood cells are the main defense of our immune system. However, with psoriasis, they target healthy skin cells instead.

Unlike many known skin conditions, psoriasis exhibits distinct triggers and symptoms. Flare-ups can result from multiple factors, including stress, infection, or even changes in the weather. Symptoms encompass red patches of skin covered with scales, dry and cracked skin, and persistent itching or pain.

Despite the lack of a definitive cure, there is a range of treatments, from topical ointments to light therapy and to more advanced options like oral medications and injections. These treatment options stop the symptoms and enable patients to lead comfortable lives.

Furthermore, it is important to note that psoriasis is not contagious. It is an immune-related condition with a significant genetic link, which means it cannot infect others. Raising awareness of this condition is vital to dispel these misconceptions, promoting a more informed and empathetic perspective towards those affected.

Efforts and Initiatives

Psoriasis requires immediate action and robust strategies. Health giants, like the World Health Organization (WHO) and the International Federation of Psoriasis Associations (IFPA), have thrown their weight behind this cause.

Meanwhile, the NPF is making waves by spreading awareness in the United States by rolling out informative programs and campaigns. Through their efforts, society gains a deeper understanding of the disease, and research gets a boost.

Meanwhile, the Canadian Association of Psoriasis Patients (CAPP) is making strides with a powerful campaign titled "Discover Psoriasis." This movement builds resource-rich bridges for patients and healthcare professionals, a lifeline for successfully managing and treating psoriasis.

How to Get Involved and Support Psoriasis Awareness Month

  • Donate contributions to fund research and patient treatment programs, acknowledging the financial implications related to this condition.
  • Engage with the community through local events or workshops focusing on raising psoriasis awareness.
  • Share informative articles on social media platforms, enhancing knowledge about psoriasis.
  • Advocate for people living with this condition by lobbying for rules and regulations in both government and private institutions that uphold their rights and improve their quality of life.
  • Volunteer your time to local charities that support people with psoriasis, fostering a greater community spirit.

Conclusion

National Psoriasis Awareness Month aims to eradicate misconceptions, highlighting psoriasis as a non-contagious, chronic condition. You can make a difference by educating yourself, voicing support on social media, donating funds, and offering comfort. Every small action can contribute to broader understanding and kindness.

Psoriasis Awareness Month FAQs

1. What is psoriasis?

Psoriasis, at its core, is a persistent immune-related skin disorder. It creates itchy, reddened, and flaky spots on the skin. Although its exact cause remains unclear, experts suggest it springs from an overly enthusiastic immune response. Remarkably, this condition touches the lives of nearly 2-3% of individuals worldwide.

2. Is psoriasis contagious?

Psoriasis cannot be transmitted from person to person.

3. Can psoriasis be cured?

There is no known cure for psoriasis, but various treatments can manage and control the symptoms.

1

Mease, P. J., Gladman, D. D., Papp, K., Khraishi, M., Thaçi, D., Behrens, F., Northington, R., Fuiman, J., Bananis, E., Boggs, R., & Alvarez, D. (2013). Prevalence of rheumatologist-diagnosed psoriatic arthritis in patients with psoriasis in European/North American dermatology clinics. Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, 69(5), 729–735. 

2

Smith, A. E., Kassab, J. Y., Payne, C. M. R., & Beer, W. (1993). Bimodality in age of onset of psoriasis, in both patients and their relatives. Dermatology, 186(3), 181–186.

By Mike Gomez, BA.

Mike is a degree-qualified researcher and writer passionate about increasing global awareness about climate change and encouraging people to act collectively in resolving these issues.

Fact Checked By:
Isabela Sedano, BEng.

Photo by Lucija Ros on Unsplash.
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