Psoriasis Awareness: What you Need to Know

What does it mean to have psoriasis? What kinds of things should people with psoriasis look out for? That’s the question we’re asking and answering this week at Foot & Ankle Associates of Cleveland, in honor of National Psoriasis Awareness month.

Psoriasis is a chronic disease that manifests itself in the form of raised, red, scaly patches on the skin. These patches can pop up on your elbows, knees, scalp, and feet. They’re usually not painful, but can itch, sting, or burn.

Are you at risk?

Psoriasis affects about 125 million people – which sounds like a lot, but only amounts to 2%-3% of all people across the globe. Psoriasis appears to originate with some sort of glitch in a person’s immune system, so anyone can get it. There are, however, certain risk factors that make it more likely, including

  • Family history
  • Repeated infections or a compromised immune system, such as with HIV/AIDS
  • Smoking
  • A stressful lifestyle
  • Being overweight

Complications of the disease

Many people with psoriasis will deal only with controlling the outbreaks of scaly patches on their skin. But others will find that the condition is associated with complications in other parts of the body, such as

  • Arthritis. One fifth to one quarter of all people who develop psoriasis will also develop psoriatic arthritis. Painful, red, or swollen joints in your feet or toes should prompt you to call our expert foot doctors, Dr. Craig B. Frey or Dr. Megan L. Oltmann in the Cleveland suburb of Solon, OH, for an examination.
  • Type 2 diabetes. The risk of getting diabetes is increased if you have psoriasis
  • Obesity. Doctors aren’t able to explain exactly why psoriasis patients tend to be overweight. It may be that the discomfort of psoriasis discourages people from exercising, so they’re likely to be overweight. Or it may be the reverse: inflammation and stress on the body caused by weight gain triggers psoriasis.
  •  High blood pressure
  • Kidney disease, cardiovascular disease, and Parkinson’s disease are all linked to psoriasis as well.

Be sure to tell Dr. Oltmann or Dr. Frey if you have a history of psoriasis or psoriatic arthritis. If you notice red patches of scaly skin on your feet, let us examine them and guide you through a treatment program. There are prescription creams, oral medications, and lifestyle changes that we can recommend to provide relief. Call us at (440) 903-1041 or make an appointment online.