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Fact or Fiction: How Much Do You Know About Psoriasis?

Alisha Bridges has lived and thrived with psoriasis for over two decades. She is a blogger and health advocate who strives to inspire others with her story of living with a chronic condition. She is continually researching to learn more about the condition so she can help inform, educate and enlighten others. 

How much do you know about psoriasis? Put your knowledge to the test by answering these thirteen true and false statements about the condition.  

1. Psoriasis is non-contagious

TRUE: Psoriasis isn’t caused by a virus or bacteria, therefore it’s not a condition that can be passed on through bodily fluids or skin-to-skin contact. Psoriasis is an immune-mediated disease and is caused by an overreactive immune system.

2. There are 8 different types of psoriasis

FALSE: The National Psoriasis Foundation reports 5 types of psoriasis which include plaque, guttate, inverse, pustular, and erythrodermic.

3. There is a cure for psoriasis.

FALSE:  Although today scientist understand psoriasis much more than they did 50 years ago, currently there is no cure. However, treatments like Prosoria can help to alleviate the harsh symptoms of psoriasis.

<style>.embed-container { position: relative; padding-bottom: 56.25%; height: 0; overflow: hidden; max-width: 100%; } .embed-container iframe, .embed-container object, .embed-container embed { position: absolute; top: 0; left: 0; width: 100%; height: 100%; }</style><div class='embed-container'><iframe src='' frameborder='0' allowfullscreen></iframe></div>4. The origin for the word “psoriasis” is Greek and means “to have the itch.”

TRUE: The term “psoriasis” was coined in the late 17th century.

5. Leaving your psoriasis untreated can increase your chances of acquiring other diseases.

TRUE: According to the National Psoriasis Foundation having this condition puts you are risk for developing 10 other diseases. Finding a treatment which controls your psoriasis symptoms will lower your risk of developing other diseases associated with psoriasis.

6. Psoriasis is found in more men than women.

FALSE: Currently it is reported that men and women develop psoriasis at equal rates, however research reveals there may be some variation for the level of severity and depression that occurs between the two genders.

7. Psoriasis is a skin disease

FALSE: Psoriasis is an immune-mediated condition which affects the skin. Proteins utilized in the immune system are overactive which send faulty signals causing the body to create skin cells it does not need resulting in inflamed, flaky, dry skin.

8. Psoriasis can cause depression.

TRUE: Psoriasis is due to an overreactive immune system. Cytokines are proteins of the immune system responsible for cell signaling. A person who has psoriasis will have an increased number of cytokines. According to research an increase number of cytokines can cause an imbalance of serotonin, a hormone responsible for mood, which could lead to depression.

9. Psoriasis is diagnosed with a blood test.

FALSE: This condition is typically determined by a biopsy and visual survey of the skin by a dermatologist.

10. Psoriasis was once classified as a skin disease.

TRUE: When psoriasis was first discovered in 1800’s it wasn’t widely understood. Due to the appearance of the disease it was initially classified as a skin disease. It wasn’t understood as an auto-immune disease until the 60’s.

11. Psoriasis was once in the same category as leprosy.

TRUE: It was once believed psoriasis was contagious and doctors placed it in the same category as leprosy. Fortunately it was eventually determined psoriasis was non contagious.

12. Arsenic was one of the first treatments for psoriasis.

TRUE: Greek "Father of Medicine" Hippocrates (460-377 B.C.) was one of the first medical professionals to treat skin aliments. One of the topical treatments he used for psoriasis was arsenic.

13. Psoriasis is caused by poor hygiene, uncleanliness, or poor skin care.

FALSE: When psoriasis was first discovered people who didn’t understand the science of the disease once believe the condition was due to poor hygiene and uncleanliness.