Psoriatic Disease Awareness: National Psoriasis Foundation · Helpline: 1 800 723-9166 (NJ) · Donate · American Academy of Dermatology · New Jersey Specialists
Psoriasis and Psoriatic Arthritis are immune-mediated diseases characterized by inflammation caused by dysfunctional overreactions of the immune system that causes inflammation in or the body. This occurs because the overactive immune system speeds up skin cell growth. There may be visible signs of the inflammation and scales on the skin.
Psoriatic diseases are not contagious — you cannot catch them from another person. Usually, something triggers psoriasis, causing symptoms to appear or worsen. The immune system and genetics play key roles, and it is possible to develop psoriasis even if you have no family history of the disease.
A triggering event may cause a change in the immune system, resulting in the onset of psoriasis symptoms. Common triggers for psoriasis include stress, illness, injury to the skin, certain medications, the weather, allergies, crtain foods, alcohol or environmental factors.
Singer Cyndi Lauper has made millions of fans feel good with her chart-topping songs. Since her diagnosis in 2010, she wrote the music and lyrics for the Broadway hit musical Kinky Boots, becoming the first woman to win a Tony award in that category. Now she wants to help people with psoriasis feel good, or at least better.
These days, she finds that yoga and walks keep her grounded — she works with a yoga instructor. “When everything seems to go haywire,” Lauper recommends “taking a walk in the fresh air.” She walks her dog. She walks with her husband.
She’s learned what triggers her psoriasis. Alcohol and spicy foods are big triggers for her, so she avoids them. On the road, she also relies on meditation. She recalls listening to a recording of Pema Chödrön, an American Buddhist nun and meditation guru. Lauper says, “Chödrön has a great voice. She even made the goldfish in the hotel calm down.”
Most important, treatment is available — a dermatologist can talk with you about a lot of avenues for dealing with it. “You don’t have to suffer,” Lauper says.