Volume 1  Number 7 August 2022

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the online magazine of 
The National Library of Patient Rights & Advocacy

what you will find inside the August issue...

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by Elizabeth Linden

Girls with Autism
An Underdiagnosed and Undertreated Population 

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The Monthly Report on the Current Stories in Healthcare

Hosted by Cori Ritchey
Executive Producer: Rayah Hammad
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Welcome to the August Issue

You know the old adage, "Great things come in small packages?" Many of our dedicated editorial staff are on well deserved vacations, and so the August issue is a bit thin. But the excellence of the articles is great.

 

Welcome to this month's issue of the online magazine of The Power of the Patient Project: The National Library of Patient Rights and Advocacy. We welcome your comments and suggestions. We hope that you will enjoy the content of this month's magazine and come back next month for what will be our biggest issue yet.

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Understanding Psoriasis

by Michelle Powell

August is National Psoriasis Month to educate people about psoriasis and its causes, triggers, and treatment. It was first observed in October 1997 as a national awareness campaign by the National Psoriasis Foundation.

 

What is psoriasis?

According to the National Psoriasis Foundation (NPF), it is an immune-mediated disease that has an unclear cause but causes inflammation in the body. There are various signs of inflammation from raised plaques and scales that may vary for different skin types. These plaques and scales can especially be red and can cause itching, burning, and stinging in their affected areas.

 

It occurs from an overactive immune system increasing skin cell growth. With normal skin, they grow and shed in a month. In comparison, skin cells complete this cycle in 3-4 days. While they may grow, the skin cells do not shed and instead pile on the surface of the skin, forming red patches and scales.

 

Psoriasis is not contagious, and no one can catch it from someone with it.

 

What causes it?

There is no exact cause for psoriasis though scientists know the immune system and genetics play roles. Someone can develop psoriasis even if they have no family history of the disease.

 

There are a variety of triggers that could cause a change in a person’s immune system and develop symptoms. Some common triggers may be stress, illness (i.e. strep infections), skin injuries, and medications, states the National Psoriasis Foundation, Psoriasis appearing on injured skin is called the Koebner Phenomenon, according to PubMed.Gov, is the appearance of new skin lesions on previously unaffected skin secondary to trauma. Scratches, sunburns, bug bites, and vaccinations are also possible triggers for a flare. Other triggers include alcohol consumption, vitamin D deficiency, and smoking.

 

Where can psoriasis be found on the body?

It is often discovered on the elbows, knees, and scalp though could affect different areas of the body as well. Because psoriasis could be found in a variety of places, it can affect bodily organs and tissues. Psoriatic Arthritis, as reported by John Hopkins Medicine, is a type of arthritis linked with psoriasis and alike to rheumatoid arthritis (RA) in symptoms and joint swelling. 1 in 3 people may develop PsA with symptoms of swelling, stiffness, and pain in joints and their surrounding areas. It often goes undiagnosed, but it’s important to treat it early on to prevent permanent joint damage.

 

Scalp Psoriasis is where the hairline, forehead, back of the neck, and the skin in and around the ears are affected. Over 60 percent of people living have scalp psoriasis though there are many options to treat it. Inverse Psoriasis impacts 21-30 percent of people living. It can be found in the armpits, groin, under the breasts, and other skin folds on the body. This can be treated by topical treatments or systemic medication in severe cases.

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Michelle Powell is an undergraduate student at Michigan State University majoring in Human Biology with plans to become a physician or a physician assistant. She is passionate about writing stories to help people. This led her to join her school’s Her Campus chapter. With her passion for journalism, Michelle joined the Today’s Patient team to focus on medicine and medical issues to help patients better understand how to navigate the healthcare system.

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