At Texas Foot Specialists we often find that patients do not have a good understanding of the disease, Psoriasis. In honor of Psoriasis Awareness Month we thought we’d take this time to help share the facts about this condition.
Psoriasis primarily affects senior citizens.
FALSE: Psoriasis can strike at any age. Even children can get this disease. It most often develops in people age 15 and 35.
Psoriasis is spread by direct contact.
FALSE: Psoriasis is an autoimmune disease that depends on a genetic component and “triggers.” In people who have inherited a predisposition for the disease, various triggers can cause flare ups. When a flare up occurs, red, scaly patches can appear on the skin anywhere on the body (including the tops and bottoms of your feet). This is a sign that the body is overproducing new skin cells. Some of the triggers are: stress, certain medications, injury to the skin and infection.
Arthritis can be a part of psoriasis.
TRUE: Approximately 30% of people diagnosed with psoriasis will eventually end up with psoriatic arthritis. This can cause swelling, stiffness and pain in your joints and overall fatigue. In many cases, the symptoms may be mild but early diagnosis is important as permanent joint damage can occur in as little as six months after onset.
There is a test you can take to see if you have psoriasis.
FALSE: There is no blood or other tests to definitively diagnose psoriasis. In fact, when it first appears on your feet, psoriasis may be confused with athlete’s foot. Psoriasis can also affect your nails but the symptoms—discoloration, thickening of the nail, chipping or splintering, separating of the nail from the nail bed—can mimic the symptoms of fungal toenails. That’s why it’s important to not wait to get changes to the skin or toenails checked out by our podiatrists, Dr. Gregory Mangum and Dr. Bruce Miller. Often the doctor will take a biopsy of the affected skin and examine it under a microscope. The foot doctor will also get a complete medical history as part of the examination. This is important because of the hereditary component of the disease.