(BPT) – Psoriasis impacts around nine million people in the U.S., with symptoms ranging from mild to severe. Itch is the most commonly reported burdensome symptom. This chronic skin disease most often appears as raised, scaly red plaques; yet, because it can occur anywhere on the body, it may look and feel different depending on the location.
For example, many people may not know that psoriasis in intertriginous areas (areas of skin-to-skin contact, like the armpits, under the breasts, stomach folds, between the buttocks, and in the groin area) might not look like the typical raised, dry, or cracked scales. Instead, psoriasis in these areas may lack the classic white scales and lesions may appear smooth and shiny.
This might lead those affected to disregard it as something else entirely and avoid showing these areas to their doctor out of embarrassment or lack of understanding, causing delays in treatment. In fact, a recent survey that included over 300 people with psoriasis in intertriginous areas, found that 2 in 5 respondents did not recognize they had intertriginous psoriasis symptoms until they saw pictures of intertriginous plaques. And, that same survey found, that two-thirds of individuals who had psoriasis in intertriginous areas avoided showing their healthcare providers these areas of their body, most commonly because of embarrassment.
And, while psoriasis is a skin disease with physical symptoms, it can also take a toll on one’s emotional wellbeing. People with psoriasis may experience feelings of low self-esteem, embarrassment, depression, and anxiety. Psoriasis may even cause people to avoid participating in social activities and negatively impact their relationships with loved ones.
However, it doesn’t have to be this way. Talking openly about psoriasis and its impact with doctors, family, and friends can help people with psoriasis receive appropriate care, support, and treatment.
Here are a few tips for dealing with psoriasis:
- Don’t be embarrassed to talk to a loved one. A great conversation starter is asking, “Do you know what psoriasis is?” Then take the conversation from there.
- Psoriasis doesn’t always look the same across the body, especially in those intertriginous areas. So don’t be afraid to ask your doctor for either a full body exam or to check specific areas that you’re not sure might be psoriasis.
- When preparing to talk to your doctor, strive to be as open and honest as possible about all the ways in which psoriasis is affecting you — physically, mentally, and emotionally. This is the quickest route to finding a treatment option that works for you.
- Treatment options are not one-size-fits-all. Customized treatment regimens are determined by severity of disease as well as which body regions are affected. Make sure to discuss all options with your doctor.
Psoriasis can impact many aspects of your life, but with the right support and treatment plan for you, management is possible. The first step is talking to your doctor.
For more tips and information on psoriasis and how to discuss the impact it may be having on you, head to www.ExposePsoriasis.com.