It's not every day that a celeb as high-profile as Kim Kardashian gets diagnosed with a chronic disease on cable TV. But that's exactly what happened last night on Keeping Up With the Kardashians. The bride-to-be went to her doc and found out she has the incurable, chronic skin disease psoriasis, which causes cells to build up rapidly on the surface of the skin, forming thick silvery scales and itchy, dry, red patches that are sometimes painful.
Not exactly as glamorous as the other items that Kim has donned, of course. But her diagnosis is good news, because it will surely shine light on her own symptoms and increase awareness of the disease for people who have never heard of it before. It's also a wake-up call that she's just a regular human like you and me (I know, can you believe it?! Haha!). We all have our health challenges in life; this is Kim's.
Here, the basics on the chronic condition ...
How you get it: In Kim's case, her mother, Kris Jenner, also suffers from psoriasis, and it seems like at least in half of the cases, psoriasis is related to the immune system and its relationship to the environment in people who are genetically susceptible. Environmental factors that can exacerbate its development include stress, obesity, and smoking.
What it looks like: Psoriasis can display in all different ways, in different forms (bumps vs. widespread red rashes or spots). In fact, there are at least eight types.
How long it lasts: Most types of psoriasis go through cycles, flaring up for a few weeks or months, then subsiding for a time or even going away for what seems like forever. However, in most cases, the disease eventually returns. (Hey, at least Kim pinpointed what's going on with her skin now -- so she'll definitely be prepared to keep it from getting in the way of her Big Day!)
How you treat it: There are a slew of ways psoriasis sufferers cope with the condition, from topical creams (like corticosteroids), light therapy, oral or injected medicines (like retinoids), and natural therapies (like fish oil or aloe vera). Lots of people make lifestyle tweaks that help, too, like eating healthy, using moisturizer overnight, and avoiding triggers, like alcohol (which may decrease effectiveness of some psoriasis therapies) and stress.
Although it is chronic, psoriasis is a condition that affects 7.5 million Americans. It seems like there are plenty of ways to live with it and manage it, so it seems like our girl Kim will be just fine. What's more, we have her thank for being honest and real about her personal health battle with the disease.
What do you think about Kim's diagnosis?
Image via E!