Taking Charge of Your Health

(audience applauding) – In the US, over 37 million people either have psoriasis or eczema. Our good friend and colleague
Dr. Freda Lewis-Hall, chief patient officer at Pfizer is here to let you know what your skin may be telling you about your health. – Well, you a lot of people often confuse psoriasis and eczema,
because both can cause skin to be dry, red, itchy and inflamed, but they’re caused by different factors, they require different treatment, so really getting the
diagnosis right is key. – So important. First up, psoriasis,
an autoimmune disorder that affects the body as a result of an overactive immune system. With psoriasis, the immune system causes the body to make new skin cells in days, rather than weeks. These extra cells build
up and form red patches covered in thick, silvery scales. And these patches often
appear on the elbows, knees and scalp, but it
doesn’t only attack the skin, your nails may become thick,
pitted or even ridged. You may also experience swollen and stiff joints with this. – Yep, so next up, eczema. So atopic dermatitis is the
most common type of eczema. Now, it generally appears on the skin where the body bends. So at the crook of the knee, on the inside bend of the elbow. And with psoriasis there
may be mild itching, but with atopic dermatitis, the sensation of itching and the urge to scratch are typically much more intense. – It’s important to mention that neither of these conditions are contagious. And that skin diseases can be
a part of a larger problem. Some people with psoriasis
are at a higher risk for many conditions including
cardiovascular disease, arthritis, obesity,
and emotional problems. Dr. Freda, who is at risk for these particular skin conditions? – So, atopic dermatitis can affect anyone at any age, but
it’s most common in babies and children, and is usually diagnosed before the age of five. Psoriasis is generally
diagnosed later in life. It too can affect people of any age, but is most common in
people mid 40s to mid 60s. – And the exact cause
of psoriasis and eczema, it’s unknown but genetic
and environmental factors certainly may play a role in both. To manage symptoms of atopic dermatitis, talk to your health care provider and try to identify and
certainly avoid your triggers. – Absolutely and developing
really good skincare habits, is very important. So you wanna keep your skin moisturized with non-irritant products. Make sure when you’re bathing, that it’s warm water, not hot water. Avoid detergents that
have fragrances in them ’cause that may exacerbate it. And then last but not
least, we wanna make sure that you know the signs of infection and that you make sure
to monitor for those. – Really good point. And for psoriasis, quitting
smoking, limiting stress and keeping your skin
from drying out may help and although there is no cure
for psoriasis or eczema yet, talking to your doctor can help ensure you have the right diagnosis,
and the right treatment for your condition. – And I wanna mention one other thing before we go. Skin conditions like this can cause people to become socially withdrawn, to develop low self-esteem, or depression, but it doesn’t really have to be that way. Education and awareness,
are really beginning to take hold and to
destigmatize skin diseases. Just for an example, the
reality star Kim Kardashian West has recently come public with the fact that she has psoriasis,
which is a condition that she has in common with
her mother Kris Jenner. There is support available, you don’t have to do this alone. And of course if you
want more information, you can go to We got information and resources there, and of course while you’re
there you can sign up for a monthly newsletter. – Dr. Freda, always a pleasure, Thanks for being here.
– Thank you, always great to be here.
(audience applauding)

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