Psoriasis shock sparks career fears for Kim Kardashian

In this May 12, 2011 photo provided by Picturegroup, Melissa Molinaro arrives as Victoria's Secret Supermodels celebrate the release of the 2011 What Is Sexy? List & kick off to the Bombshell Summer Tour at The Beverly in Los Angeles. Reality show starlet Kim Kardashian on Wednesday, July 2011 sued Old Navy and its parent company, The Gap Inc. alleging their ads featuring Molinaro, who bears a resemblance to Kardashian, violated her publicity rights. AP Photo/PictureGroup, Gregg DeGuire

kim kardashian, psoriasis
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(CBS) Will psoriasis put the kibosh on Kim Kardashian's career? The reality star, whose diagnosis with the potentially disfiguring autoimmune disorder was featured on a recent episode of "Keeping Up with the Kardashians," seems worried that it might.

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"My career is doing ad campaigns and swimsuit photo shoots," she said in the episode. "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 to me if they saw all these spots."

She was talking about the "red, flaky dots" that had shown up on her legs.

There's no doubt psoriasis can make life complicated, even for people who don't get paid to show off their bodies. Nearly 60 percent of people with psoriasis say it presents big problems in their everyday lives, according to the National Psoriasis Foundation. And while the condition is best known as a cause of skin problems, it can also cause arthritis and other problems.

The good news for Kim is that while psoriasis is incurable, it can be controlled. In addition to topical medicines (lotions, ointments, creams, and shampoos), exposure to ultraviolet light and oatmeal baths can be helpful. And for severe cases, there are so-called "biologic" drugs that tamp down the abnormal immune response that is thought to underlie psoriasis.

But when Kardashian's dermatologist told her the single most important thing she could do to keep her psoriasis under control would be to live an "easier, slower-paced life," she was less than receptive to the advice.

"That's just not possible," she said.

One thing's for sure - Kardashian isn't alone in her struggle with psoriasis. The condition - which often runs in families - affects an estimated 7.5 million Americans, making it the nation's most common auto-immune disease, according to the foundation.

WebMD has more on psoriasis.

  • David W Freeman

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