More Than Skin Deep
Sir Thomas Overbury, an English poet and writer, is credited with the modern proverb “beauty is only skin deep,” based on his 1613 poem, A Wife (also referred to as The Wife). Written while his friend was having an affair with a member of the royal family, Overbury’s poem describes the qualities a man should look for in a woman prior to marriage. The rest of the story about Overbury and his poem reads like a script for a Netflix show – scandal, poison and murder!
Overbury is correct that what you don’t see about a person is hidden under the skin and it may be more important than just physical beauty! But unfortunately people do tend to judge others based on appearance. One attribute that often comes into play in forming judgements is an individual’s skin, not only skin color, but also visible skin diseases such as psoriasis.
August is Psoriasis Awareness month, a time to raise awareness of the causes, triggers, and treatments for this autoimmune disease that effects more than 7.5 million people in the U.S. Psoriasis continues to be a misunderstood disease that is far more than just unsightly, itchy, flaky skin. Individuals with psoriasis have to cope with both their disease symptoms and the negative reaction of others because of the stigma traditionally associated with skin conditions. Coping mechanisms include avoidance of social and recreational activities that involve “skin exposure,” and seclusion at home. A recent study reports that psoriasis patients are roughly 1.5 times more likely to have symptoms of depression and nearly two times more likely to experience suicidal thoughts compared to individuals without the disease.
There are other impact of psoriasis. One in three people with psoriasis may also develop psoriatic arthritis (PsA), which causes swelling, stiffness and pain in the joints and areas surrounding the joints. Psoriasis increases the risk for cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, and other autoimmune diseases such as celiac disease, sclerosis and Crohn’s disease. While there is no cure for psoriasis, new treatments such as biologics offer patients with severe disease a more productive and higher quality of life. However, these specialty medications often create a financial hardship for even those patients with health insurance.
Be sure to check out Skin Deep for more on psoriasis!
- Newsmakers: current healthcare news, Michigan childhood vaccination rates, drug companies fight price negotiations, and declining use of radiation in cancer treatment.
- Sign of the Times: ground ambulance surprise bills, delays treating strokes, and rape in Mississippi.
- Skin Deep: psoriasis stigma, myths and new mapping.
- The Skinny: including my personal favorite, How Germany’s Spaghetti Ice Cream Came to Be!
Sign of the Times
Enjoy the weekend!
Suzanne Daniels, Ph.D.
P.O. Box 1416
Birmingham, MI 48012
Office: (248) 792-2187
Email: [email protected]