Yes, celebrities get them too!
In 2014, psoriasis was recognized for the first time as a serious non-communicable disease (NCD) at the World Health Assembly. All Member States recognized that incorrect or delayed diagnosis, inadequate treatment options, and insufficient access to care causing needless suffering for millions of people worldwide.
This year, the World Health Organization (WHO) released a Global report on psoriasis to bring the public health impact of psoriasis into focus, to help raise awareness of the range of ways that psoriasis can affect people’s lives. The report showed how stakeholders can play a key role in addressing the unnecessary social, psychological, or economic consequences of psoriasis.
The following celebrities and professional athletes with psoriasis only prove that this condition knows no gender, age, or status in life. But with correct information, proper treatment, and strong community and family support, this battle with psoriasis can be beaten and managed.
- Kim Kardashian and Kris Jenner – After noticing red, inflamed patches of skin, American reality television actress Kim was diagnosed with psoriasis on an episode of her show, Keeping Up with the Kardashian in 2011. Kim was 30 that time, the same age as her mother, Kris Jenner was diagnosed with the condition.
- LeAnn Rimes – Two-time Grammy award winner with three ACMs, a CMA, 12 Billboard Music Awards, and one American Music award, LeAnn was diagnosed with psoriasis at the age of two, but only came out in 2008 as part of a psoriasis awareness campaign, “Stop Hiding, Start Living”. With the right medication and careful lifestyle choices, LeAnn’s skin is now clear.
- Cindi Lauper – The 62-year-old Grammy-, Tony-, and Emmy award-winning singer, actress, activist, and pop icon saw the signs of psoriasis only in 2010 and thought it was just really a bad rash. Her psoriasis first flared on her scalp. Right now, she is taking treatment and has partnered with the National Psoriasis Foundation and Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation on a national initiative, I’m PsO Ready, to encourage people with psoriasis to speak out and take the next step in their journey.
- Phil Mickelson – World-class and champion pro golfer Phil Mickelson suffers from psoriatic arthritis, where his joints aches, feeling like he’d sprained a wrist on one hand and somehow jammed a finger on the other. His right ankle hurt too. With the help of a rheumatologist and his family’s support, Phil got to play again, took the four place in the 2010 US Open with just three strokes behind his opponent.
- CariDee English – Diagnosed at five, CariDee had a long battle with psoriasis. She covered herself with long sleeves, got doctor’s notes to excuse her from gym, and covered her skin under thick makeup when starting her modeling career. Due to medications, CariDee’s skin is now clear. She’s America’s Next Top Model in 2006.
- Dara Torres – Dara is a swimmer who won 12 medals in five different Olympic Games. Though others with psoriasis find pool chemicals irritating to the skin, Dara has found chlorine helpful in her condition.
- Jon Lovitz – After trying – and failing – many different medications, comedian and former Saturday Night Live-er now has his psoriasis under control. At first he thought it was only a rash, only to find out that he actually had plaque psoriasis.
Increasing awareness on psoriasis
To address the lack of information and misconceptions about psoriasis, PsorPhil, the Philippine Dermatological Society (PDS), Philippine Rheumatology Association (PRA) and Novartis Healthcare Philippines signed a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) to increase awareness on psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis; educate patients on early recognition of psoriasis symptoms; and eliminate the social stigma associated with psoriasis.
“Social stigma and the lack of accessible efficient long-term treatments only compound the problem. Together with our partners, we aim to increase awareness on psoriasis, enhance its diagnosis and management, and spread hope to our patients and their families,” said PDS president Dr. Ma. Angela Lavadia.
According to PRA president Dr. Heizel Reyes, up to 10 percent of Asians with psoriasis are diagnosed with psoriatic arthritis, a specific form of arthritis that is particularly painful and debilitating and can lead to joint damage.
“We believe that this timely partnership can help ease the burden of patients with psoriatic arthritis and enhance their quality of care,” said Dr. Reyes. “As rheumatologists, we are keenly aware of the pain and suffering that our patients with psoriatic arthritis go through in their everyday lives. But even as we are witness to our patient’s limitations, we also celebrate with them their victories at they can become and what they can achieve despite their chronic, systemic illness because our patients are survivors.”
Dr. Reyes added the society is pleased to participate in this photography project by empowered patients in PsorPhil because finally everyone will see their patients the same way they see them.
“Lesions or no lesions – our patients are patients of beauty, persons of strengths, persons who are victorious, and persons who can soar,” said Dr. Reyes.
Under the MOA, the partner-stakeholders will organize a photography workshop and launch a photography competition for patients with psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis. The photography campaign aims to raise awareness on their conditions and celebrate the life, productivity, and beauty of individuals with psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis.
“We are deeply honored to be partners in this unique collaboration with PsorPhil, PDS, and PRA. I think it is a unique moment because as WHO reports, there is no need for patients to suffer at this point. There are options and solutions to them. Today, we have a solution that can help many Filipinos, a lot of patients,” said Dr. Nikolaos Tripodis, president and managing director of Novartis Pharmaceuticals.
Winning photos will be displayed in gallery exhibits to be held in identified training institutions and other appropriate exhibit halls.
“The loneliest point of having psoriasis is not knowing anybody who has it, except you; or imagine feeling like you’re alone in this world or like God made you suffer. That’s the most fateful thing that runs in our minds. Help us tell the world that we have a whole lively community of psoriasis patients working together, that we’re not contagious. Give us a chance to live a normal life,” concluded De Guzman.