Psoriasis, what’s it all about then?
Well let me start by saying that it’s a complete pain in the arse, a total drain on you, your lifestyle, your confidence, your self esteem, it’s one of the worst things that I have ever encountered in my life, yet it is seemingly ‘harmless’.
Now for the science!
The cause of psoriasis is not fully understood, but it is believed to have a genetic component and local psoriatic changes can be triggered by an injury to the skin known as Koebner phenomenon. Various environmental factors have been suggested as aggravating to psoriasis including stress, withdrawal of systemic corticosteroid, excessive alcohol consumption, and smoking but few have shown statistical significance. There are many treatments available, but because of its chronic recurrent nature psoriasis is a challenge to treat.”
“It’s a chronic auto-immune 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. Psoriasis is not contagious. It commonly causes red, scaly patches to appear on the skin, although some patients have no dermatological symptoms. The scaly patches commonly caused by psoriasis, called psoriatic plaques, are areas of inflammation and excessive skin production. Skin rapidly accumulates at these sites which gives it a silvery-white appearance. Plaques frequently occur on the skin of the elbows and knees, but can affect any area including the scalp, palms of hands and soles of feet, and genitals. The disorder is a chronic recurring condition that varies in severity from minor localized patches to complete body coverage. Fingernails and toenails are frequently affected (psoriatic nail dystrophy) and can be seen as an isolated symptom. Psoriasis can also cause inflammation of the joints, which is known as psoriatic arthritis. Ten to fifteen percent of people with psoriasis have psoriatic arthritis.
Nice eh. Well I’ve been a sufferer since 1995. I had a pretty serious car crash, something that has ended up being a life changing event. In the short term I was gutted about writing off my car and all the hassle that went with it, boy did I not know what was going to hit me from then on.
15 years on it’s still here and boy does it have a vengeance! In all those years since the crash there has been little reprive, it’s been a constant heartbreaking, soul destroying battle. The emmotional strength it has taken to get through this and get on with my life has been something that quite a few can relate to.
After years of being poked, prodded, stared at, pointed at, laughed at, there could well be an end in sight. I’ve had numerous treatments, dranks all sorts of lotions and potions, had needles jabbed in every inch of my body, gone through weekly blood tests, taken hardcore drugs like Methotrexate, Ciclosporin, Acitretin to name just a few. All of these had nasty side effects on me and generally made me feel like shit, but they did have the effect of clearing my psoriasis, albeit for only a short amount of time, it always came back with a vengeance.
Well, now, finally, I’ve managed to get onto a course of biologic drugs, I’m just about to start on a drug called Adalimumab, more commonly known as Humira. Fingers crossed this will be the start of something special. I get the drugs delivered in the middle of October, I just have a few shots to take first (flu jabs and the like) and a blood test before I get the OK to crack on with these.
These, unlike everything else I’ve had so far, have to be injected! I get to inject myself every fortnight, won’t that be fun. I’ll try and document my thoughts and progress on this drug, one that is reportedly a ‘wonder drug’ for psoriasis sufferers. For me only time will tell….
Edit April 2016 : this was published in October 2010 and I have been in remission pretty much ever since. The drug is a life changer for me.