by: Luke Scroggins
If you don’t have psoriasis, you probably still recognize the inflamed patches of dry red skin on the arms, legs, or scalp. Until recently, that would just about summarize my own understanding of this condition.
In recent weeks preparing for Psoriasis Awareness Month, my appreciation of psoriasis and concern for the people it affects continues to rapidly grow. Although visually it appears as a skin condition, one I thought to be about as bad as acne, this is in fact the tip of the iceberg for a much more dangerous cocktail of conditions — with most of its punch lying beneath the surface.
Psoriasis is a skin condition, a metabolic syndrome, and an invasive burden on patients socially – especially in physical or intimate encounters. There is also a form of arthritis associated with psoriasis. When all of these symptoms are present, psoriasis becomes an intrusive and life-altering condition. One which can produces six times the suicide rates of other non life-threatening diseases.
Lately, research has shown that these conditions are far more intertwined with each other than originally believed. We’ve learned as a result that psoriasis can be treated by addressing one of its associated symptoms. For example, by making diet changes to treat a metabolic syndrome, such as adding omega-3 fatty acids, patients can in turn possibly improve their psoriasis. Online communities have become a rapidly expanding place for patients to share these kinds of experiences, and an opportunity for researchers to try and connect the dots.
One psoriasis researcher, Dr. Nicole Ward of Case Western Reserve University, has found that these anecdotes collected from patients as human data are an integral part of her research. Co-chair of the National Psoriasis Foundation Research Symposium this month, Dr. Ward hopes to demonstrate the need for transitional research by presenting lab data and human data side by side. “We know that psoriasis patients have this increased risk for stroke and heart attack. We know they develop psoriatic arthritis. They have increased prevalence of having depression, obesity. What I’m interested in figuring out is, why is that?”
With the amount of psoriasis research being done, there has never been a more important time to get involved. If you have psoriasis, you can help yourself today. Right now. Dr. Ward suggests you “Ask for help. Seek out dermatologists. Go online, find the blogs, find organizations like the Psoriasis Foundation, get information, get educated, because there is an amazing opportunity to treat your disease and improve your quality of life.”
Clinical Trials of Texas, Inc. is not only your South Texas hub for psoriasis clinical trials, but can now be found on YouTube. There you can view our educational videos on a number of conditions, featuring some of our very own physicians. It is our hope to contribute to the already expansive community of psoriasis patients, doctors, and researchers committed to improving the lives of those suffering from this disease.
Did you learn something from this article? Looking for a way to help? Share this link and pass on the knowledge. Psoriasis isn’t contagious, but awareness is!
Check out our studies at SAresearch.com or call 210.949.0122 to learn more!