Walking on the beach and enjoying nature for many years was one of the favorite programs of Ciara’s lawyer, José Célio Peixoto Silveira, 63. But being diagnosed with psoriasis at age 17 changed that. The discomfort with the wounds that began to appear all over his body and the awkward looks of strangers made him avoid showing himself in public, without going to the beach for a long time. The exacerbation of the condition led to psoriatic arthritis, with sequelae in the fingers and toes.
“I really liked going to the beach. José Celio remembers that the sun, stepping on the sand and the sea is good for the skin and the mind, and I had to let it go.
The first bruises appeared on the scalp and soon spread to the forehead, arms and legs. The illness started slowly. Some cuts appeared on the scalp and it could be peeled off, and I thought it was dandruff, but it did not improve and it started to bleed, ”he says.
The diagnosis confirmed that it was psoriasis, a non-contagious chronic inflammatory disease of the skin that affects about 2.6 million Brazilians and reminds us of this Saturday (10/29), a date known as Psoriasis Awareness Day . This moment reinforces the importance of early diagnosis and reminds patients that although it is a serious disease that has no cure, there is treatment to relieve symptoms and subsequent discomfort.
Psoriasis usually appears in young adults between the ages of 20 and 40. Like Celio, they have lesions of different sizes on the skin, specific and reddish, with dry white or silver scales that appear on the scalp, knees and elbows. They cause many discomforts such as itching, pain, burning, burning and thickening of the skin.
In severe cases, patients can develop psoriatic arthritis, an inflammation of the joints that affects the fingers, toes, spine, knees, ankles, and hips. The symptoms limit the performance of daily tasks, work, leisure and social relationships, as well as prejudices.
In 1988, twelve years after he was diagnosed with psoriasis, José Celio began to experience severe pain in the joints of his knees, fingers and feet, and back problems. The symptoms were related to psoriatic arthritis.
“The disease healed me a lot because of the pain and deformities in my fingers and toes, in my hand only one finger escaped and all the others curved,” recalls the patient.
Dermatologist Marcelo Arnoni, coordinator of the external psoriasis clinic at the Hospital das Clínicas of the University of São Paulo, explains that as a systemic inflammatory disease, psoriasis affects the entire body, which contributes to the development of other comorbidities.
More than 50% of patients have one or more diseases. These include psoriatic arthritis itself, inflammatory bowel disease, depression, anxiety, nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, chronic kidney disease, and an increased risk of cardiovascular disease related to obesity, diabetes, and high blood pressure. high.
The discomfort of the injuries was greater than the heat of the Northeast Coast. The Ciara native says that at the time he only wore long-sleeved shirts and pants to hide the lesions on his skin. “I haven’t worn shorts or a T-shirt in years,” he says. Over time, he was able to manage the bias surrounding the illness with conversation and information.
“Ignorance kills people. Some who don’t know what psoriasis is separate things thinking that it is contagious. It is a disease that is confused with others and I used the information as a tool to deal with prejudice. When they asked me or looked at me in amazement, I immediately said that it was a non-contagious inflammatory skin disease,” he says.
Social stigma and physical symptoms have a significant impact on the mental health of these patients, with effects that affect their relationships, according to psychiatrist Elson Azevedo, a researcher at the Unifesp psychiatry division.
“The skin is our show to the world. The appearance of injuries that limit it can be very harmful, affect self-esteem, generate anxiety and mental health problems. The most common are depression and anxiety disorders, with loss of social and work life,” says Azevedo.
José Celio says that, at first, he did not accept that it was a disease without a cure. I have psoriasis for several years. I used the drugs and got a little better, but violent relapses followed, with many infections throughout the body, ”he recalls, who only saw his condition improve definitively after starting to use the biologicals.
“My life changed, I went from hell to heaven with biological drugs. All lesions disappeared and my skin looked like a child,” he jokes. “It was a true miracle for someone with severe psoriasis.”
There is no cure for psoriasis, but treatment helps relieve symptoms and disease progression. Among the available treatments are topical medications -creams and ointments-, phototherapy, oral medications and biological drugs for continuous use, which act on specific targets involved in the inflammatory process.
According to Arnon, biological treatments have revolutionized the treatment of psoriasis. Oral or injectable medications, similar to those used to control insulin, are indicated for patients with severe conditions.
Because it is a chronic disease, some medications work well at first and then lose their effectiveness. The patient went from one treatment to another until the options were exhausted. He says that biologics are safer and more effective for a patient, but if they stop using them, the symptoms return.”