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LeAnn Rimes Brings Battle With Psoriasis to Center Stage
Date:4/23/2010

n when she was only 2 years old. She remembers at one time having the characteristic blotches of thick, scaly, often itchy, skin all over her legs and trunk.

"I was wearing jeans in 105-degree weather. I didn't want to go out in a bathing suit," she said. "It definitely takes a toll on your self-esteem, especially as a girl."

At one point, Rimes was having to change medications every one-and-a-half years when the one she was on stopped working.

According to Dr. Jerry Bagel, a spokesman for the National Psoriasis Foundation, director of the Psoriasis Treatment Center of Central New Jersey in East Windsor and associate clinical professor of dermatology at Columbia University in New York City, people with psoriasis have a 50 percent increased risk for depression and increased use of antidepressant medications.

Fortunately, there are now more and better treatments than ever before.

"People with moderate to severe psoriasis now have many new options they didn't have 10, or even seven, years ago," Bagel said. "Since 2003, five new biologic agents have been approved by the FDA [U.S. Food and Drug Administration]."

Lifestyle factors, including a balanced diet and reducing stress, can also play a role, something Rimes said she learned firsthand.

"I have a great relationship with my doctor. I not only take medications but have made diet and lifestyle changes, just being active and getting out of my own head and really relieving stress with exercise, yoga, breathing," said Rimes, who has been clear of psoriasis outbreaks now for six years. "I stay away from fried foods and try to make the healthiest food choices I can," she added.

"I've learned to control it the best I can ... working around this crazy life I lead," she said.

The campaign is supported by pharmaceutical company Abbott.

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