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Misconceptions about Psoriasis

For many, psoriasis causes daily discomfort with the emergence of red patches and scales at various locations on the body. However, this disease is subject to various misconceptions. We have examined 10 of these in this article.

Misconception No.1: Psoriasis is a contagious disease.

False.

According to a study, 1 in 3 people would avoid kissing those suffering from psoriasis for fear of contamination. However, psoriasis is not caused by any virus or bacteria. It cannot be transmitted through physical contact, be it direct or indirect. It is a multifactorial disease, the mechanisms of which are not yet fully understood. Psoriasis results from a malfunction of the immune system. It develops in individuals with predisposing genetic factors. It can also be triggered or worsened by certain factors, such as stress, lifestyle habits, etc.

Misconception No. 2: Psoriasis is a psychosomatic illness.

False.

Psychological factors, such as stress, are not in themselves a cause of disease. However, they can exacerbate the disease by promoting the onset of inflammatory flare-ups.

Misconception No. 3: Psoriasis only affects the skin.

False.

It is true that psoriasis primarily generates visible skin symptoms at the level of the knees, scalp, lumbar region, and elbows. However, it can also affect the joints as is the case for the psoriatic arthritis. In this instance, the absence of treatment can lead to irreversible damage.

Misconception No. 4: Psoriasis only affects adults.

False.

Psoriasis is not exclusive to adults. Children and babies can also be affected. It can happen that an infant shows signs of psoriasis within the first few months of their life. It is characterised by the appearance of red patches and inflammatory reactions on the area of skin located beneath the nappy: this is referred to as nappy psoriasis. This often appears during the first two years of the infant's life.

Misconception No. 5: Psoriasis can be of genetic origin.

True.

Psoriasis is in 30% of cases linked to the presence of genetic factors. These genetic variants are responsible for an immune system imbalance causing chronic skin inflammation, as well as an overproduction of keratinocytes. For a child, the risk of suffering from this pathology is around 5 to 10% if one of their parents is affected. The major gene involved is the PSORS1 locus. Other minor genes also play a role.

Misconception No.6: The consumption of certain foods triggers psoriasis.

False.

Foods containing lactose, gluten or other potentially irritating substances are not responsible for psoriasis. Reducing intake of polyunsaturated fatty acids also does not prevent this disease. However, an excess ofalcohol and tobacco is a contributing factor.

Misconception No. 7: Psoriasis is due to a lack of hygiene.

False.

Lack of hygiene is not a cause of psoriasis onset. The thickening of the skin results from an excessive renewal of keratinocytes. The redness, on the other hand, is caused by skin inflammation. It is worth noting that the excessive use of unsuitable soap exacerbates the symptoms of psoriasis with intensifying itching. Often, the irritations are hard to bear.

Misconception No. 8: Psoriasis and sport are incompatible.

False.

Engaging in a physical activity can, on the contrary, reduce stress, which is a worsening factor for psoriasis. For patients particularly affected by plaques, exercise helps to improve their body image. However, any potential friction areas should be protected. In the case of psoriatic arthritis, opting for a gentle discipline such as swimming, yoga, walking or cycling allows for expenditure of energy while preserving the joints.

Misconception No. 9: Psoriasis is a curable disease.

False.

At present, there is no treatment that can permanently cure psoriasis. Fortunately, total or partial remission is still possible. Thanks to local treatments based on vitamin D or dermocorticoids, the red patches as well as the itching are soothed. Management also helps to limit the appearance of new lesions.

Misconception No.10: Psoriasis, a deadly disease.

False.

Psoriasis is not a fatal disease. However, it should be noted that psoriasis is likely to progress to cardiovascular diseases. This condition also increases the risk of high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity, and depression. Special attention should be given to the erythrodermic psoriasis , which is a rare but severe form requiring hospitalisation.

Source

  • LIAN N. & al. Association between the systemic treatment of psoriasis and cardiovascular risk. Chinese Medical Journal (2021).

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