One common misperception about psoriasis, says Nicora Gardner, health education manager at the National Psoriasis Foundation, is that it’s merely a skin disease. “It’s a systemic disease of the immune system that can affect more than your skin,” she says. Psoriasis can increase your risk for “heart disease, depression, obesity, and diabetes,” says Gardner, which is why she says it’s important to educate yourself about the disease and the treatment options.
- The National Psoriasis Foundation. The website of the country’s leading psoriasis education and advocacy group is the mother lode for information about psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis. Learn about the types of psoriasis, treatment options, advocacy opportunities, locating a doctor, resources for managing the disease, and ways to navigate your health care options.
- PsoriasisNet. This site from the American Academy of Dermatology covers everything you need to know about psoriasis and includes sections on causes, treatments, triggers, minimizing flare-ups, and finding a dermatologist in your area.
Because it is a visible and chronic illness, psoriasis affects more than how you feel physically. “The mental-health aspect is huge,” says Gardner. “It’s easy to become isolated and depressed. Building a support team beyond your physicians is invaluable. It helps with self-esteem and isolation, and provides a feeling of acceptance for people who have a very visible disease.”
- National Psoriasis Foundation. The foundation hosts a very active online portal with message boards, online chats, and information about live events and support groups in your area. You can also check out the foundation on Facebook.
- WeArePsoriasis.org.Share photos and treatment experiences, join communities based on mutual interests, and connect with people around the world at this active social-networking site for people living with psoriasis.
- Psoriasis Patients. People with psoriasis share tips, treatment advice, and feelings about living with the disease on this social-networking site, which also includes blogs and information about upcoming events.