Many people dread the drop in temperatures because it means their health condition worsens. Millions of Americans struggle with psoriasis and it is the most common auto-immune disease.
Psoriasis is more than just a skin condition and it affects people of all races, ages and lifestyles. The condition can also be difficult to manage. Therefore, doctors at the Medical College of Georgia are working on new ways to treat psoriasis.
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Sylvester Bush Jr. describes how psoriasis affects everyday things in a big way.
“Trying to bend your hands to wrap around a steering wheel… it hurts,” says Bush. “Even sleeping at night hurts.”
Bush explains how the problem started on his knees and then spread to his whole body. Now, trips to the grocery store can be embarrassing when people are not sure what is wrong with his skin.
“I know people you know they’re looking like—what’s wrong? I can understand that, but at the same time it hurts as well.” The feeling Bush describes is shared by millions of people across the world.
MCG Division Chief of Dermatology, Dr. Loretta Davis says the condition can be difficult to manage because there are so many unique varieties. She says often, the medications are expensive and insurance fights pitching in.
“We have a lot of co-morbidities meaning that their psoriasis maybe also a risk factor for cardiac disease and so all this inflammation in the body is affecting not only their joints and their skin, but also their heart and they need these medications,” Dr. Davis explains.
The struggles clinicians face every day when it comes to treating psoriasis make MCG cell physiologist Dr. Wendy Bollag’s research a game changer.
“The more tools we have the better we’re going to be able to take care of our patients,” says Dr. Davis.
Dr. Bollag is studying how phosphatidylglycerol could help psoriatic patients by reducing inflammation
“We thought that phosphatidylglycerol would be able to inhibit inflammation induced by some of these danger signals, these anti-microbial peptides, and in fact that’s what we found,” says Dr. Bollag.
Phosphatidylglycerol is a fat that already exists in our body so Dr. Bollag says it could be a better alternative to some of the drugs currently on the market that have serious side effects.
“We think it should be really safe because it is naturally occurring,” Dr. Bollag points out.
As someone who battles psoriasis, Bush is grateful they are trying to help make life easier for him and others.
“My encouragement is– don’t be afraid to go and get help,” Bush says.
Bush hopes his story inspires someone else who experiences some of the symptoms he described to get treated. He is thankful he did because he says Dr. Davis has him on a medication that is helping him.