Saturday, 4 January 2014

Psoriasis Statistics

I've always been really good with numbers, even when I was little. I was about twelve years old when I became very interested in statistics: 1 in every 1,000 child will have some form of arthritis, 2/3 will have 4 or less joints affected, and at least 30% will go on to have arthritis as adults. That's a lot for a child to take in. Sometimes you seemed like one of a large group and other times you were rare. When I was fourteen and got diagnosed with juvenile psoriatic arthritis, my numbers changed a bit: I felt part of an even smaller group. Only 2-10% of cases tend to be juvenile psoriatic arthritis, but it could be more since it sometimes looks like other types. And even though I found out 80% tend to have nail problems too, I also found 85% have psoriasis first.

I'm one in a small group of people who don't have psoriasis before the arthritis sets in. They say that one develops skin problems within months or years of the onset of arthritis. But I have had evidence of arthritis since I was one year old and I still don't have it. Where is the statistic about when people develop psoriasis after arthritis sets in? Where's the '50% within five years' facts and figures?

Last night I had a horrible dream. I was washing my face when one of my cheeks got really itchy. I scratched it and my skin began to break out in an aggravated, red psoriasis rash. I put cream on it to try and help but it made it worse: The psoriasis spread violently. Half my face was covered with it by the time I woke up in a panic.

I know how devastating psoriasis can be: I've seen it affect the lives of many people, including that of my mother. And I'm not afraid to admit I'm scared to death of getting it too. Every time I get stressed,  every time my skin gets really dry, and every time I get a seemingly innocent rash, my heart races. I feel like a ticking bomb, not knowing when I'll go off. Some days I don't know what's worse: Knowing it will likely happen or not knowing when it will happen.

Statistics tells us a lot: they can tell us the likelihood of something happening. But we beat odds everyday. When is there every true security in the world?


  1. I'm so sorry you struggle so with this, Elizabeth. Without the disease showing up on your skin, how did your doctors diagnose psoriatic arthritis? I had terrible acne from age 11 until I about 19, so I think I can understand, a little, your fear of psoriasis. I hope you'll never have to cope with that along with the arthritis.

    Sending a warm hug your way!

    1. Despite not having skin psoriasis, I have a close relative (my mum) with psoriasis and I have nail psoriasis. The diagnosis may have been faster but my first rheumatologist wasn't the best at thinking outside the box haha.