By Ana Theresa Williams,BSN,RN
Although psoriasis is non-contagious, you need to treat it at once to avoid further health problems.
Skin Doctors dermatologist Karen Alabado-Laurel,MD defined psoriasis as a skin disorder that’s chronic but not contagious or it cannot be transmitted from one person to another. It has a very typical presentation such as red, thick, scaling lesions. Unfortunately, she said there is no cure; therefore, it may still come back even if it disappears.
Dr. Laurel said psoriasis are well-defined, scaling lesions on the skin and underneath the scaling is red skin. Usually, they occur on both sides of the body. Any skin surface may be involved as well as the nails. In 30 percent of the patients, they develop psoriatic arthritis as well, she said.
The medical specialist said the exact reason why this skin problem occurs is still not known. But what is known now is that in psoriasis, the skin turnover is faster than normal.
“They have found out that our immune system plays a role — certain messenger proteins are over-produced which signal skin cells to increase in number, hence the red, thickened, scaling skin,” the skin doctor explained further.
“Psoriasis is hereditary but there are people with psoriasis who just simply get it or acquire it with no known family members affected.”
Dr. Laurel said one must know that psoriasis is a worldwide problem that affects as many as 2 to 3 percent of the world’s population. That’s 125 million people worldwide. Then in the Philippines, the medical expert said between 1 and 2 million Filipinos are affected. “The ones at highest risk are the ones with family members who have psoriasis. Men and women have an equal chance of getting this type of skin disorder. It has also been reported to be present at birth all the way with a reported onset at age 108 years,” she said.
Medicines usually can be applied with good response. But in moderate-severe cases, Dr. Laurel said oral medicines need to be given. Ultraviolet treatment is one of the safest options. Biologics are the newest treatment which can give respite from the disease up to a year, she said.
And if left untreated, Dr. Laurel said it has been found to be associated with the development of diabetes and heart disease as well as depression that is also associated with this skin disorder.
Finally, the medical expert said psoriasis is NOT contagious. Although there is no cure, treatment is available. Diabetes and heart disease are conditions associated with this skin disease, hence the need for proper treatment.
In behalf of the Psoriasis Foundation of the Philippines and the Philippine Dermatological Society, Dr. Laurel is inviting all patients and their families to join them as they celebrate the World Psoriasis Day on October 25 (Wednesday) from 1 to 4 in the afternoon at NCCC Mall. “Hug a psoriasis patient on October 25 and help us show everyone that it is non-contagious,” she concluded.