The Psoriasis Awareness ribbon is Orchid over Orange

August is Psoriasis Awareness Month. An estimated 7.5 million Americans have psoriasis, according to the National Psoriasis Foundation (NPF), making it the most common autoimmune disease in the United States. Despite its prevalence, many people are still unaware of its impact. Awareness offers the opportunity to educate the public and dispel myths associated with the disease.

Psoriasis is an autoimmune disease that causes raised, red, scaly patches to appear on the skin. It typically presents on the elbows, knees, and scalp, but can appear anywhere on the body. It often develops between ages 15 and 35, but can develop at any age. Psoriasis is not contagious; it is not something you can “catch” from others or transfer to someone else. Psoriasis lesions are not infectious . Stigma often surrounds those with visible psoriasis due to others not understanding there is no risk of infection.

Psoriasis is often diagnosed by a dermatologist or other healthcare provider examining the affected skin. There are five types of psoriasis that each present differently.

Plaque psoriasis is most common, presenting with

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June is National Scleroderma Awareness Month, meant to raise understanding of the chronic autoimmune disease. Scleroderma attacks a patient’s connective tissue with one’s own immune system.  First diagnosed in 1754, scleroderma affects women, men, and children. An estimated 300,000 people in the United States have scleroderma. For many, it can be a life-threatening disease. There is no known cause or cure.

Symptoms of scleroderma include the tightening, swelling, stiffness, or pain in fingers, toes, hands, feet, or face; puffy or discolored skin; and fatigue or feeling tired. Fingers and toes may react strongly to cold, appearing white and hurt, as well as red spots or ulcers on affected joints and areas. Scleroderma can also affect internal organs—occurring in roughly a one-third of cases—causing shortness of breath or problems digesting food, including heartburn, trouble swallowing, or food moving slower than usual through your system.  The symptoms vary greatly for each person, and can all range from mild to severe. If you exhibit any of these symptoms, be sure to consult a doctor.

Though life-threatening, the five-year

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