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?

2 comments:

  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!

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    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.

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