Beauty, money, and fame. It seems like Kim Kardashian has it all. But this beauty icon and reality TV star doesn’t try to hide a condition that could mar that perfection: psoriasis.
She has made no secret of her diagnosis since coming out about it on her reality TV show, “Keeping Up with the Kardashians”. In fact, her struggles with the disease may have increased her popularity.
A stressful skin condition hasn’t seemed to slow Kim Kardashian down. Psoriasis plagues millions of people around the world, but Kardashian is using her celebrity status to give hope to those who have this incurable disease.
What Is Psoriasis?
Psoriasis may not have been on your radar until Kim Kardashian came out with it, but it’s more common than you think. Many doctors write off potential psoriasis diagnoses as a rash or ringworm, leaving many cases of psoriasis to go unnoticed.
In the simplest terms, psoriasis speeds up the life cycle of skin cells, causing red, itchy patches to form on the skin.
Unfortunately, doctors are unsure as to the direct causes of psoriasis. They think that the condition may be related to neutrophils, an immune system problem that causes the T cells and other white blood cells in the body to attack healthy skin cells. The T cells think that they’re fighting an infection or healing a wound, causing skin cells to shed at an accelerated rate.
Speeding up the natural timeline of skin cells causes them to move to the outer layer too quickly. What used to take weeks only takes days for people with psoriasis. At the same time, the build-up creates patches of thick, scaly skin on the surface.
There is currently no cure for psoriasis, so the best that psoriasis sufferers can hope for is to manage the symptoms. Since it is a chronic condition that comes and goes, treatment options focus on keeping the cells from growing too quickly.
Certain people are at a higher risk of developing psoriasis than others. Although anyone can develop this condition, the following factors may increase the risk:
Like many diseases, family history plays a large part in your risk potential. Having one or two parents that have psoriasis can increase the risk of getting it, too.
Viral and Bacterial Infections
If you have chronic infections or a weak immune system, you’re at a higher risk of developing psoriasis.
Another risk factor is excessive weight gain. Lesions that can develop in skin folds and creases are associated with different types of psoriasis.
Stress plays a role in increasing the likelihood of developing psoriasis because it can weaken your immune system.
Lastly, smoking tobacco may play a role in the initial development of psoriasis, as well as increase your risk and severity of the symptoms.
Symptoms and Complications
Psoriasis is most recognized by the red, scaly patches that can develop. Depending on the type of psoriasis you have, you may have additional symptoms like:
- Swollen or stiff joints
- Ridged, pitted, or thickened nails
- Burning, soreness, or itching
- Cracked, dry skin
Patches may range in size, too, from a few spots of scaling to big eruptions that cover large areas of your body. Of the five types of psoriasis, plaque psoriasis is the most common. Nearly 80% people diagnosed with psoriasis have plaque psoriasis. This is the type that causes raised, dry, red skin lesions to develop anywhere on your body.
Although psoriasis can be embarrassing and painful, the condition itself is not life-threatening. The problem lies in a greater risk potential for developing other serious diseases like type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and high blood pressure.
There are a variety of treatment options to keep the symptoms at bay. The majority of treatments fall under the “topical” category, but psoriasis sufferers also have the option of using light therapy or systemic medications to help clear the skin and reduce possible inflammation.
The scope of your treatment options, however, depends on different considerations like:
- Type of psoriasis
- Areas affected
Additionally, a number of alternative medicine therapies may be helpful in controlling the signs and symptoms of the disease. However, experts believe that while these therapies are generally safe, they are also more appropriate for milder forms of the disease.
The World Is Watching the Kim Kardashian Psoriasis Struggle
Kim Kardashian is very open and upfront about having psoriasis today, but that wasn’t the case when she was first diagnosed back in 2010. Even a year later, she was using cover-up spray and asking photographers to edit out the patch she had on her leg.
That has all changed in recent years, however, and she has owned it in a way that is completely Kim Kardashian. Psoriasis may have taken her by surprise, but she is very open about her journey now. She posts photos and updates on social media and her reality TV show to keep fans and fellow psoriasis sufferers up-to-date on her condition.
Ever since she found out about her condition, Kim Kardashian has tried many different treatments to keep her flare-ups and symptoms under control. She’s also adopted lifestyle changes that may help minimize flare-ups and symptom severity.
And whether she intended to or not, her open attitude has inspired others to come out in the open about their own struggles with psoriasis.
As one of the world’s biggest celebrities, Kim Kardashian was no stranger to stress and insecurity. Psoriasis plagued her mother, Kris Jenner, so she knew she was at a high risk of the condition. However, when she first found out, she tried to hide it from a world that valued her looks and beauty above all.
Her change in attitude and the decision to come out about her condition hasn’t affected her career adversely as she once feared. Instead, it’s shown other psoriasis sufferers that they don’t have to suffer in silence and shame anymore.
Although psoriasis affects so many people around the world, the stigma and shame that are attached to the condition still remain. Hopefully, with Kim Kardashian and other celebrities coming out about having the disease, others sufferers will also have the courage to come forward and seek the support that they need.