Amid all of the joy about her return to social media after a three-month absence, Kim Kardashian shared that her psoriasis battle has worsened.The stress of the attack in Paris, combined with the heightened stress of the holidays, has probably contributed to this recent flare up of her chronic skin disease.
Kim spoke about dealing with her problems with psoriasis in August, posting a heartfelt comment on her app that said this.
"Since I was first diagnosed with psoriasis in 2010, I've been pretty open about my struggles with it. I have that one patch on my right leg that is the most visible. I don't even really try to cover it that much anymore. Sometimes I just feel like it's my big flaw and everyone knows about it, so why cover it?"Kim first found out she had psoriasis in 2011 during a visit to a dermatologist that was featured on an episode of Keeping Up With the Kardashians. Her mother, Kris Jenner, told Kim Kardashian West that she might have psoriasis after Kim complained about a rash on her legs.
What is Psoriasis?
Psoriasis is more than just a skin rash. It's actually an auto-immune disease that causes skin cells to grow faster than normal. It normally takes 28-30 days for new skin cells be grown and old ones to be shed. With plaque psoriasis, new skin cells grow in three to four days. These cells push up from the underlayer of the skin, and because the body cannot shed the other cells, they continue to pile up. The oldest cells are forced to the surface and form thick red patches, which are the hallmark of psoriasis.
It's unknown really what the exact root cause of psoriasis is, but it is known what factors can make it worse. Stress, acidic foods, severe sunburns, and illness can all cause psoriasis to flare up. It has been discovered that psoriasis is genetically passed down, which is why Kris Jenner suspected that Kim had the disease.
What's important to know is that psoriasis not contagious. One person cannot transmit it to someone else, because it is a disease of the immune system.
How is it Treated?
Psoriasis cannot be cured; the most that can be done is to treat the symptoms as they flare up. The discomfort involved with psoriasis is more than just the visible skin lesions and flaking. There is often a burning itch that can be extremely difficult to deal with. Medication is often prescribed for when the disease flares, including topical agents that contain keratolytics, corticosteroids, salicylic acid, and anthralin. Most of these topical ointments have adverse effects, so they have to be used sparingly.
Another treatment is phototherapy, where ultraviolet light is applied to affected areas. This type of treatment is used for outbreaks that are larger and cover about five to ten percent of the body.
Systemic agents that are injected are used to treat psoriasis if the disease has progressed to the point where it has become disabling or has caused psoriatic arthritis.
From tweets that Kim has sent out, she is currently using a topical cortisone cream to treat her psoriasis. Her flare ups range from flaky to itchy rashes. Now that she's been dealing with the disease for five years, Kim is well experienced in knowing what treatments work best for her. Like the approximately 7.5 million people in the United States alone who suffer from psoriasis, she is looking forward to the day when there is a cure for this autoimmune disease.
[Featured Image by Lionel Cironneau/AP Images]