If you are one of the more than 88,000 New Zealanders who have the skin disorder psoriasis, there’s a great new website full of useful tips and simple strategies to help you manage it.
At mypsoriasis.co.nz you’ll find suggestions for everything from how to handle kids’ awkward questions to dealing with an over-protective family.
Often, the stress of keeping feelings bottled up can make psoriasis symptoms worse, so the more help you can get the better you’ll be able to manage it. Remember, you’re not alone. There’s a whole psoriasis community there to support you.
The information you’ll find at mypsoriasis.co.nz recognises symptoms can affect many decisions and aspects of your life – and that it can take an emotional toll because of its long-term and visual nature. You’ll be able to download the booklet Refusing to hide – the insider’s guide to psoriasis which is full of useful information to help you better understand and manage your psoriasis.
You’ll also find loads of expert information from dermatologists, nurses and psychologists, along with personal stories of people just like you who share their experience of and strategies for living with the psoriasis.
As you probably already know, psoriasis is an autoimmune disease. The body’s immune system is mistakenly reacting to some of your own body’s cells, resulting in accelerated skin cell growth.
Normal skin cells replace themselves every 28 to 30 days, but skin cells affected by psoriasis mature in just three to four days and pile up instead of falling away on their own. The resulting build-up forms the silvery, scaly, red patches called plaque psoriasis.
While genetics play a role in psoriasis, scientists believe exposure to environmental triggers may propel the disease into action. For example, you may experience a worsening of your symptoms in the winter and improvement in the summer. Other triggers may include injury, stress, certain medicines and some types of infections.
Your best tool is information, plenty of which can be found at mypsoriasis.co.nz.
For example, did you know psoriasis affects more than just skin? Around 30 percent of people with psoriasis develop psoriatic arthritis that can also affect the joints, causing them to become stiff, painful and swollen. More information about psoriasis can be found mypsoriasis.co.nz.
As for how to handle those curious kids’ questions? How about: “I have extra-happy skin. My skin cells are so happy they jump off after only a few days!” Brilliant!