Get Well Wednesday: Itching to Find a Cure For Psoriasis

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Psoriasis is not common in the black community, but it can interfere with a normal lifestyle and social relationships.

According to the National Psoriasis Foundation, psoriasis is a chronic, autoimmune disease that appears on the skin. It occurs when the immune system sends out faulty signals that speed up the growth cycle of skin cells. It is typically characterized by raised, red, scaly plaques on the skin, either all over the body or in isolated areas, such as the scalp or elbows. Heredity may play a role, but stress, injury, infection, medication or trauma can spark an outbreak or cause a flare-up.

The condition usually develops between the ages of 15 and 25 and extreme versions can turn into psoriatic arthritis, which becomes more common after age 30. Psoriasis is also associated with other serious health conditions, such as diabetes, heart disease and depression.

It is a common skin disease that affects 3 to 5 percent of the world’s population. It is not contagious, but it isn’t attractive and can drive people to isolate themselves from social interaction. There is no known cure, but like other skin problems it can be controlled with proper treatment.

The National Psoriasis Foundation wants to encourage Americans and black journalists to look for the warning signs, especially during August, which is Psoriasis Month.

“There are always skin concerns, anything from sunburn to changing moles. Athletes get fungal and viral infections all of the time. Certain athletes slide and skin their legs up real bad and need attention so that it doesn’t get infected. All humans will have skin conditions and need a dermatologist, including athletes,” Dr. Charles Crutchfield III, a Minnesota-based dermatologist, who specializes in the treatment of acne, psoriasis, skin cancer and ethnic skin diseases, told the Minneapolis Spokesman-Recorder in an interview.

Depending on the severity and how obvious the presence of the outbreaks is to others, some patients will experience physical discomfort or disabilities, At its worst, plaques on the hands and feet can keep some patients from working at certain occupations, playing some sports, or performing caretaker duties for a family members.

Some medications, including inderal, a blood pressure medication and quinidine, a heart medication worsen psoriasis.

“Skin issues have a powerful impact on our personal and professional lives,” said Crutchfield, the official dermatologist for both the NFL’s Minnesota Vikings football and Major League Baseball’s Minnesota Twins, told MD News.

“I can’t tell you how many patients report that their self-esteem has completely turned around after we resolved an issue like acne or psoriasis,” Crutchfield said.

Get Well Wednesday: Itching to Find a Cure For Psoriasis  was originally published on