Kim Kardashian — even if you can’t stand her, you know the name. She’s kind of one of those enigmatic figures that you either love, or hate. However, whether you like her or not, there’s no denying her star power. Sure, she may be a celebrity for reasons unknown to many, but, the point is — she’s rich, powerful, beautiful, young, and very, very famous.
That’s why this next tidbit of information is quite interesting – she recently revealed that she has been diagnosed with psoriasis. There’s been no word if she has developed psoriatic arthritis with it, but, there’s always that chance.
My hope is that she will use her fame as a platform to spread awareness about this disease. These autoimmune conditions can get debilitating, but even if she is lucky and hers doesn’t get that bad, I personally believe that she should use her status to shed some light on conditions (psoriasis, psoriatic arthritis) that so many suffer from — much like Lady Gaga has tried to do with Lupus, and like Phil Mickelson (an example of triumphing over the disease) has done for psoriatic arthritis.
So, what IS psoriasis and how does it relate to arthritis? Psoriasis is a chronic autoimmune disorder of the skin. There are many different forms, and all are chronic and recurring. The dermatological symptoms of psoriasis can come and go much like RA flares. It occurs when the immune system sends out faulty signals that speed up the growth cycle of skin cells. Psoriasis is not contagious but may be genetic, and there are five types of psoriasis: plaque, guttate, inverse, pustular and erythrodermic. Like many autoimmune and rheumatic diseases, psoriasis can basically attack any part of the body and is associated with other serious health conditions, such as diabetes, heart disease, depression, and even sometimes cancer.
Psoriatic arthritis affects 30% of people with psoriasis. It causes pain, stiffness and swelling in and around the joints and can develop at any time, but it most commonly appears between the ages of 30 and 50. Genes, the immune system and environmental factors are all believed to play a role in the onset of this disease. Like all rheumatic conditions, early recognition, diagnosis and treatment of psoriatic arthritis are critical to relieve pain and inflammation and are key to help prevent progressive joint damage. Some of the same medications and treatments (i.e. Enbrel, etc.) are used for psoriasis and rheumatoid arthritis.
Psoriasis can be hard on anyone due to it being a ‘visible’ condition. There is a stigma associated with rashes, and, even though it is not contagious, it may make people nervous. So, like many celebrities with psoriasis, Kardashian is “shocked and worried about the diagnosis because she faces so much scrutiny about her appearance.” She asked dermatologist Dr. Lancer if it would appear on her face — for her, that could be a career-ending factor. However, psoriasis most commonly occurs on the scalp, knees, elbows and torso, but it can develop anywhere. However, it very infrequently appears on the face.
“I’d heard of psoriasis before because my mom has always had it, but she didn’t have red flaky dots all over her, and I do,” says Kim, 30, about her psoriasis. No word if Kardashian is experiencing any joint problems related to her disease.
It just goes to show that ”stars” are people, too….and these types of conditions can strike any of us, at any time! It does not matter how young, how beautiful, or how rich you are. Let’s just hope that she can turn this negative into something positive by helping educate others about psoriasis, as she’s already begun to do. She can be a role model to other young people who live with these types of diseases.
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