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August is Psoriasis Awareness Month! If you don’t know what psoriasis is, you’re not alone. Today, we hope to demystify this skin condition, and to support those living with it!
Psoriasis is a chronic skin condition. The word itself is a bit tricky (the P is silent!): it just means that the skin grows too fast. This results in patches of skin becoming scaly, red, white or silvery . These patches of skin, called “plaques”, can cause both physical pain and emotional discomfort.   Sometimes, the symptoms of psoriasis go into remission without treatment. Other times, creams, immunosuppressant medications (like corticosteroids), or light therapy may help to reduce symptoms.
Psoriasis may also cause psoriatic arthritis. This type of arthritis is only found in those with skin psoriasis, and causes joint swelling and pain. Learn more about psoriatic arthritis in our interview with Elizabeth from July. Those living with psoriasis may also be more prone to a variety of other medical conditions, including elevated cholesterol, diabetes, obesity (and the triad of these three, known as metabolic syndrome can contribute to increased risk of heart disease), liver disease, and stroke . It is important to keep psoriasis controlled, as it can worsen other co-existing conditions. 
Remember, if you have psoriasis, follow your doctor’s instructions as best you can. If you take immunosuppressant drugs, such as prednisone, it is important to wear a medical ID bracelet or necklace to protect yourself in an emergency. And, if you’re supporting someone living with psoriasis, be sensitive to their needs. If they’re in pain, they may need to cancel plans, but sometimes they may welcome a visit instead. If they are struggling with the appearance of their skin, ask how you can help. Shopping for new clothing to cover affected areas while enjoying a day out with a friend might be just what’s needed to boost confidence–and happiness!
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