Do you remember the “Heartbreak of Psoriasis”? Back in the ’60s, some Mad Men came up with that catchy campaign to sell a “new healing discovery” that could clear up itching and scaling skin.
For those not familiar with how serious psoriasis can be, the remedy made the autoimmune disease seem akin to dandruff. But for the 7.5 million people in the US who suffer from this disease, including it’s rare forms like guttate psoriasis, it’s not a trivial matter.
August is Psoriasis Awareness Month. And this year, the National Psoriasis Foundation (NPF) is acknowledging a special milestone: 50 years of Driving Discovery and Creating Community.
In 1967, when that “Heartbreak” commercial was still burning up the airwaves, a woman named Beverly Foster Halprin organized the first society for the condition in Oregon. A year later, they went national. Since then, NPF has raised more than $11 million for psoriasis research, the development of new treatments, support of clinical trials, and research into genetic links to psoriasis diseases.
Twenty percent of people with the autoimmune disease have moderate to severe symptoms affecting more than five percent of their body, according to the American Academy of Dermatology. Treatment costs upwards of $50 billion a year. That’s a lot of ointment.
Of course, rare forms, such as guttate, pustular and erythrodermic, require much more than a simple salve. Within the past ten years, biologic drugs have become an option moderate to severe cases. These injectable or IV infused treatments target T-cells or proteins in the immune system to prevent the development of it and psoriatic arthritis.
This month (and all year long,) the NPF provides valuable resources for people living with the disease and its comorbidities. Whether you want to find ways to manage your condition, help raise awareness and funds for research, read up on the latest clinical trials and treatments, or attend the National Volunteer Conference in Chicago, you’ll find the information you need at psorasis.org/events.