Quick – what’s the largest organ of the human body? The heart? Liver? How about the brain?
None of these! Our largest organ isn’t even located inside the body. It’s our skin – that miraculous covering that’s constantly working to keep our body temperature stable and shields our precious internal systems from the perils of our environment, like the damaging rays of the sun, chemicals, and other pollutants.
Your skin and a disease called psoriasis
Psoriasis is a disorder of the immune system that shows up on the skin. Since the disorder can affect the skin of the feet, it’s something we’re quite familiar with here at Montgomery Foot Care Specialists. And since August is National Psoriasis Awareness month, we think it’s a perfect time to take a look at what psoriasis is and how it affects more than 7.5 million people in the United States.
So, our skin is made up of three layers – the epidermis, dermis, and subcutis. The epidermis is the outermost layer, made up of overlapping cells that are continually dying off and flaking off in order to make way for the living skin of the layers beneath.
With plaque psoriasis – the most common form of the disease – something goes haywire with skin cell production. Normally, it takes 28-30 days for skin to regenerate. Plaque psoriasis greatly accelerates that process and the skin churns over too quickly. New skin cells push upward in as little as 3-4 days, but your body isn’t able to shed the dead skin cells that fast. Cells heap up on top of each other, forming red patches on the outside of the skin.
The effects of psoriasis
Psoriasis causes physical effects. The thick red patches, called plaques, are itchy, painful, and flaky. Sad to say, psoriasis can also cause psychological pain. Sufferers of psoriasis will tell you that they spend a lot of time and energy
- hiding their plaques
- avoiding social events
- assuring others that the disease isn’t contagious (which is true and important for non-sufferers to note: psoriasis is not contagious)
Psoriasis and athlete’s foot share some of the same symptoms, so if you notice itchy, red patches on your feet, contact our expert podiatrists, Dr. Heidi M. Christie and Dr. Chanda L. Day-Houts, for an evaluation. If an examination and full medical history reveal psoriasis or athlete’s foot, we have many topical and internal medications to control them.
For prompt, professional evaluation of the organ that protects your feet, give us a call at our office in Montgomery, Alabama, at (334) 396-3668.