This Story on Psoriasis may help you!!! At the end of Brenda's story there is another article More "Than Meets The Eye" from News Canada with more good info.
Finally Comfortable in Her Own Skin
By Brenda Spinozzi
Brenda Spinozzi leads an active life. She is a devoted wife and mother of two. She is happy. But up until three years ago, Brenda's life wasn't so happy as she struggled daily with a painful skin disease called psoriasis. The pain, embarrassment, and sometimes depression of having this disease was unbearable.
At the age of five, Brenda was diagnosed with severe psoriasis, a chronic, recurrent skin disorder that affects almost one million Canadians. More than 85 per cent of her body was covered with painful red skin lesions and Brenda's life was changed forever. Psoriasis may have had a physical impact on Brenda's body, but it also affected her emotional well being and quality of life.
To alleviate her physical symptoms, Brenda and her doctors tried conventional topical therapies such as ointments and creams containing corticosteroids or tar, and phototherapy such as ultraviolet radiation. Later, they tried systemic therapies like methotrexate and cyclosporine, which alleviated her symptoms to a small degree, but put her liver and kidneys at risk.
Three years ago, Brenda was introduced to a newer class of treatments called biologic therapies. Biologic therapies, such as Enbrel, Remicade, Raptiva and Amevive, work on the body's immune system. Like any medication, individual response varies, but in Brenda's case, since starting this treatment, her psoriasis symptoms have basically disappeared. Now, Brenda enjoys a life without psoriasis symptoms and works closely with her dermatologist to ensure her body continues to stay this way.
"Since I started using Enbrel, I feel normal, like I can finally focus on my life. I've taken trips and been spontaneous. I've done things I would never have been able to do before. I'm one of the lucky ones and now I want to make sure that everyone who needs this medication has access to it," says Brenda.
Brenda is a powerful advocate and hopes to improve the lives of Canadians with psoriasis, both by building awareness about their condition and advocating for optimal treatment.
If you have psoriasis, talk to your doctor or dermatologist about treatments available; your health care professional can work with you to determine the best treatment plan.
Psoriasis: More Than Meets The Eye
Psoriasis is a chronic, recurrent skin disorder that affects approximately one million Canadians and typically appears as red patches on the skin, covered with dry, silvery scales. It is a very visible disease, but what many Canadians do not realize is that psoriasis is so much more than what is visible on the surface.
Effects on quality of life
Psoriasis dramatically affects quality of life. It can cause poor self-esteem, anxiety, depression, thoughts of suicide, and many people struggle with interpersonal relationships.
Heart disease and other health problems
Psoriasis is also associated with an increased rate of heart disease and other health problems. A recent study found that people who suffer from psoriasis may have an increased risk of heart attack, particularly young patients with severe psoriasis. This study also revealed that patients with psoriasis were more likely to have diabetes, high blood pressure and a higher body mass index.
Another risk to 30 per cent of people with psoriasis is a debilitating inflammatory disease called psoriatic arthritis, which causes pain and swelling in the joints, sausage-shaped swelling of the fingers and toes, and inflammation of the tendons on top of psoriasis. If not diagnosed early, psoriatic arthritis can lead to irreversible joint damage. Currently, there is no cure for psoriatic arthritis, so it is essential to diagnose the disease early in order to manage symptoms and prevent joint damage.
For psoriasis, conventional treatments work to relieve the physical symptoms to a certain degree, but a newer class of treatments called biologic therapies, such as Enbrel, Remicade, Raptiva and Amevive, work on the body's immune system and treat the symptoms from the inside out. For psoriatic arthritis, Enbrel and Remicade work to relieve pain and slow the disease progression.
If you have psoriasis or psoriatic arthritis, talk to your doctor or dermatologist about treatments available; your health care professional can work with you to determine the best treatment plan.