Ten million people in the U.S. suffer from a common skin condition known as psoriasis. Although there is no cure, there are new treatments that can help.
Here's John Lisk with today's Health Minute.
Michelle Vaughn enjoys being with friends and family. It's just part of who she is. But ever since she was diagnosed with psoriasis in her teens, she is conscious of the way she looks.
"It's ugly, it's an ugly, ugly disease. And it's debilitating emotionally."
Psoriasis is a genetic skin condition that causes skin redness and irritation. Most people who suffer with psoriasis have very thick, red skin with flaky, silver-white patches called scales. Those scales can be itchy, painful and unsightly as they grow over time.
"A lot of body surface is covered and it affects what people can wear, what social events they can go to..."
Doctors say psoriasis occurs when the body's immune system mistakes healthy cells for dangerous substances. And cold, dry weather makes it worse. Although psoriasis is not dangerous, it can be associated with other health problems.
"Obesity, heart attack, stroke, high cholesterol, arthritis, this is not an isolated disease."
The treatments range from topical creams to light therapy to new injectable medications. Recently Michelle started giving herself a shot every two weeks, that has caused her psoriasis to disappear. She says she's gotten over her fear of needles, because the drug has worked so well.
"I still have these habits that I developed over the years, that I covered it up and now I don't have to do that anymore."
For today's Heath Minute, I'm John Lisk.