HMC Highlights Psoriasis Awareness Month to Dispel Common Misconceptions about the Disease

HMC Highlights Psoriasis Awareness Month to Dispel Common Misconceptions about the Disease By Qatar Day - August 18, 2021

Hamad Medical Corporation


Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC) is raising awareness to dispel common misconceptions about Psoriasis, in recognition of the Psoriasis recognition month of August.

Dermatology and Venereology Consultant at HMC Dr. Ahmad Hazem Takiddin said that despite its prevalence, psoriasis is widely misunderstood.

"Psoriasis is much more than just a skin condition. It can significantly impact ones emotional well-being and quality of life. Misconceptions about psoriasis can lead to stigma. Some research studies suggest that living with psoriasis can affect an individuals social well-being. Many people with psoriasis experience anxiety, embarrassment and depression. Despite the fact that psoriasis is not contagious, patients may face discrimination because others fear the condition is contagious because the patches (plaques from psoriasis) can crack and bleed," he points out.

Dr. Takiddin said people develop psoriasis through a combination of genes and exposure to external triggers.

"Triggers can include stress, skin injury (such as cuts or scrapes), certain infections and some medications. Genetics and the immune system of a person play a vital role in the development of the disease. In those with psoriasis, the immune system sends abnormal signals that significantly accelerate the growth process of skin cells," he said.

In addition to the psychological and social impact, Dr. Takiddin states that psoriasis increases risk for heart disease, stroke, diabetes, Crohns disease, hypertension, obesity, depression and other serious health conditions if not treated.

He described psoriasis as a persistent, chronic, systemic disease of the immune system which is hereditary and can be lifelong. "Psoriasis is characterized by over production of skin cells, usually resulting in thick, silvery scales and flaky, irritated skin. Psoriasis affects approximately three percent of the Qatar population. Men and women develop psoriasis at equal rates. The condition is often diagnosed between the ages of 15 and 35, but it can develop at any age," he explains.

He added that psoriasis changes the life cycle of skin cells.

"It causes cells to rapidly build up on the surface of the skin. It typically occurs on the knees, elbows and scalp but can affect the torso, palms, and soles of the feet. There are several types of psoriasis. Most types go through cycles, flaring for a few weeks or months, then subsiding for a time or even going into complete remission," he said.

Treatment options for psoriasis include creams and ointments applied to the skin, phototherapy (controlled exposure to certain types of ultraviolet light), systemic medications and most recently the biologic treatments. All these medications can have variable effects on neutralizing the abnormal signals leading to normal production of skin cells.

"Psoriasis symptoms can be worsened by lifestyle factors such as being overweight or obese, smoking, alcohol consumption, and an unhealthy diet consisting of foods high in saturated fats, starch and sugar. Maintaining a healthy diet, regular physical exercise and adequate sleep are important for everyone but particularly for those with, or at risk of developing psoriasis," Dr. Takiddin said. 

By Qatar Day - August 18, 2021

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