Cyndi Lauper has chosen to share her psoriasis struggles to help others. Cyndi is part of a campaign to help take away the shame and clarify the autoimmune disease. And for Lauper, psoriasis is a debilitating disease that at times left her bedridden, reported People.
The singer revealed that the condition impacted her mentally and physically.
"It was so bad, I felt like the Elephant Man," she said.
Her partnership with National Psoriasis Foundation and Novartis also emphasizes that it's a disease, not just an ordinary skin rash.
"You don't have to suffer in silence or live in pain. It's not just a rash. It's a disease. There are 7.5 million Americans with this. Find a doctor who specializes in psoriasis and find a treatment."
Understanding PsoriasisBut what exactly is psoriasis? The autoimmune disease often has a genetic component, and researchers estimate that 10 percent of people have at least one gene that results in psoriasis, reported WEAU.
Discussing psoriasis is timely, because August is Psoriasis Awareness Month. And those skin patches and rashes result in shame for many sufferers, says Dr. Alicia Arnold.
"Often [psoriasis] appears on the elbows, knees, scalp, hands, feet, and/or back. It is important to mention that it not contagious," said Arnold.
The autoimmune disease can range in severity from minor to major.
"It can be minor in some people and can be very extensive in other people, forming plaques that can appear silver and even crack and bleed," added the physician.
Resulting from an immune system that overreacts, psoriasis may be exacerbated by certain triggers.
"People with psoriasis may have times when the disease improves, called a remission, and then it may worsen, or flare, with triggers such as stress, infections, and certain medications. It can even occur at a site of skin injury, called the Koebner phenomenon. This can happen even with something minor such as cutting yourself while trimming your nails."Options for treatment vary, depending on the severity of the autoimmune disease.
"More severe cases may need treatments such as phototherapy and systemic medications as well as biologics that target the immune system," added Dr. Arnold.
Arthritis And Depression Linked To PsoriasisIn addition to the rash, some suffer from arthritis, which results in joint pain.
"Numbers vary, but it is thought to affect up to 30 or 40 percent of those with psoriasis," she added.
Moreover, those with psoriasis may struggle with a range of conditions, including heart disease, diabetes, and lymphoma. Depression also is more common among those with the autoimmune disease.
And a new study shows that women with psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis are especially prone to depression, reported MD.
Erica D. Dommasch, MD, studied the risk of depression among 50,750 U.S. female nurses who initially had no diagnosis of depression.
After those women were diagnosed with psoriasis or psoriatic arthritis, however, the researchers discovered that their risk of depression was significantly higher, linking it to their autoimmune disease.
In addition, having psoriasis raises the risk of developing other autoimmune diseases, reported Everyday Health.
Rheumatoid arthritis is twice as probable for those with psoriasis. Moreover, those who have that condition as well as psoriatic arthritis, the risk increases more.
Among the multiple autoimmune diseases that may occur in conjunction with psoriasis are alopecia areata, celiac disease, scleroderma, lupus, and Sjogren's syndrome. However, rheumatoid arthritis ranks as the top autoimmune disease linked to psoriasis.
As the Inquisitr reported, Kim Kardashian also recently revealed her own battle with psoriasis. Both Kim and her mother Kris Jenner have the autoimmune disease.
[Photo by Ilya S. Savenok/Getty Images]