LeAnn Rimes' Rough Past - Fame and psoriasis

Princess 19 on 6 Apr 2011 at 12:00am

Over 7 million people deal with psoriasis, according to the National Psoriasis Foundation. Many people suffer more extreme symptoms vs. others. One of them is LeAnn Rimes.

Almost 3 years ago, Rimes went public with the secret she always kept during her rise to fame. She was a chronic sufferer of psoriasis. She was diagnosed with autoimmune disease when she was just 2 years old. Psoriasis is when skin cells grow too fast, resulting in thickened or scaly patches. Patches are commonly on the scalp, knees, elbows and torso. By the time Rimes was 6, she was getting these red, itchy patches all over her body. Sufferers know they often flake off, crack and bleed – making for some uncomfortable and embarrassing situations.

With the regimen of the right medication, diet and stress management, Rimes has been symptom-free for over 5 years. However, her struggle has not gone without its hurdles. Her psoriasis use to dampen her live performances.

"I would bleed onstage because my skin would crack. It was so horrible," she said.

To raise awareness, Rimes teamed up with the American Academy of Dermatology and the National Psoriasis Foundation to be a spokeswoman for the Stop hiding and start living with psoriasis campaign. Pharmaceutical company Abbott, maker of Humira, supported the campaign.  She has also lent her voice to other campaigns to help fight the stigma of the disease.

"Psoriasis definitely takes a physical and emotional toll. I've had to deal with people judging me," she said. A very hard pill to swallow from what appeared to be a very “put together” celeb. “I was hiding it for so long.”

The campaign wanted people with psoriasis to know that although it’s not curable, finding a great doctor and seeking out various therapies can allow one to lead an active and healthy life, symptom-free. The key is figuring out what works for you, as dermatologists don't always agree on treatments.

It's still unclear whether or not psoriasis is a genetic disorder. But Rimes got involved with this campaign to make sure of one thing: "I wanted...to educate the rest of the world that this is not contagious. You're not going to get psoriasis by standing too close to us. We're human." 

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Photo credit: myslana on Flickr.com