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Kim Kardashian has psoriasis, but it may not be a career-ender

July 25, 2011|By Jeannine Stein, Los Angeles Times / For the Booster Shots blog
  • Kim Kardashian was diagnosed with psoriasis on her reality show; her mother also has the autoimmune condition
Kim Kardashian was diagnosed with psoriasis on her reality show; her mother… (Alberto E. Rodriguez / Getty…)

Poor Kim Kardashian. It's not enough that she's perpetually hounded by photographers. Now she apparently has psoriasis.

Her condition was revealed on a recent episode of "Keeping Up with the Kardashians" on E!. We see the reality star sitting on an examining table, 3-inch shiny gold platform pumps on her delicate feet, showing several pinkish spots on her legs to her dermatologist.

"So, I have this, like, rash," she says, pulling up her jeans. Her sister Khloe, she says, seems to think it's ringworm, but Kim admits she doesn't know what that is.

"It's not ringworm. Khloe was off," the doctor says. "But it is psoriasis." Cue the doom music.

Kim says that her mother has "always" had psoriasis. The condition may not be curable, the doctor says, but it is controllable. And that's a good thing because, OMG, Kim Kardashian can not have psoriasis! "I mean, my career is doing ad campaigns and swimsuit photo shoots," she says in a confessional. "People don't understand the pressure on me to look perfect. When I gain a pound, it's in the headlines. Imagine what the tabloids would do me if they saw all these spots?"

Swear to god we're not making this up.

OK, we know this is a serious autoimmune condition condition that affects about 7.5 million people in the U.S., most of whom are not hounded by paparazzi on a daily basis. But they do have to live their lives, which involve jobs, families, school and other activities, and psoriasis can throw a huge monkey wrench into day-to-day living. One man who was diagnosed in college found to his horror that the rash had spread to his face. "The thing about psoriasis," he writes, "is that you really don't have any idea how awful it is until you get it."

However, psoriasis is treatable, as the dermatologist said. When the autoimmune system is triggered, says the National Psoriasis Foundation Web site, this can speed the development of skin cells. The genetically transferred condition manifests in five different forms: plaque, inverse, pustular, erythrodermic and guttate. Plaque is the most common form, and from the looks of Kim's legs this may be what she has. Symptoms include raised, red patches that are covered with whitish patches of dead skin cells, and those patches can itch.

They can appear on any part of the body and may be linked with other conditions such as depression, heart disease and diabetes. Triggers can include stress, a skin injury like sunburn or medications such as drugs for high blood pressure. Some people with psoriasis also report that the weather and diet can have an effect.

Treatments include topical medications such as corticostreroids, synthetic vitamin D and salicylic acid. Controlled doses of light therapy are also used to slow skin cell growth. Oral medications such as methotrexate and retinoids can also slow cell growth and reduce inflammation, while others suppress the immune system.

Some people find that complementary and alterantive treatments like yoga and meditation have a positive effect, as well as using oats to relieve skin itch and dryness.

Exercise can be difficult for those with the condition, but personal trainer Jackie Warner developed a low-intensity workout using a mat and light weights.

We wish Kim the best and trust she'll find relief from her symptoms. In the meantime, we hope the paparazzi are understanding. Some of them may suffer from psoriasis as well.

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