If you’ve been watching Keeping Up with the Kardashians, you know that Kim Kardashian West has been struggling with some health issues lately. And now she’s letting us into her world and opening up about her diagnosis. The 38-year-old businesswoman and mother took to her sister’s wellness website Poosh to share her personal journey living with the skin condition psoriasis and the autoimmune condition psoriatic arthritis.
Psoriasis speeds up the life cycle skin cells go through, often causing uncomfortable red patches, according to Mayo Clinic. Kardashian grew up watching her mother, Kris Jenner, struggle with it — but watching and experiencing are two different things. At 25, Kardashian — the only one of Jenner’s children to inherit the chronic issue — had her first flare-up.
“It was all over my stomach and legs,” Kardashian writes. “Luckily, in my apartment complex at the time, my neighbour was a dermatologist. I showed it to him, and he said to come into the office and he would give me a shot of cortisone and then hopefully it would go away (since it was my first big outbreak). I did this and my psoriasis completely went away for about five years.”
But in her early 30s, the condition returned and wasn’t so easy to beat this time. She says it totally went away both times she was pregnant, but earlier this year, it came back worse than ever, covering her face and most of her body. “One night, I woke up to use the restroom and I physically couldn’t pick up my phone,” she writes. “I was freaking out—I couldn’t even pick up a toothbrush, my hands hurt so badly. I had worked out the day before and we did an arm day, so I thought maybe one of the exercises strained my hand. It didn’t cross my mind that it could be anything serious. As the day went on, I got a bit more movement in my hands, but they really hurt from the inside — I felt it in my bones. Everyone assumed it was just my workout, but I knew this felt different.”
Ultimately she went to the doctor and had her blood tested. Her results came back positive for rheumatoid arthritis and lupus, which are serious autoimmune disorders. Luckily, she says, those tests were false positives. Instead, her doctor told her she had something called psoriatic arthritis.
According to Mayo Clinic, this disease often affects people with psoriasis, and it’s associated with joint pain, stiffness, and swelling. These problems sometimes occur before the skin becomes red and irritated. No cure exists yet, but it can be treated with medications such as immunosuppressants or steroid injections.
Kardashian explains that she tried many natural remedies before she was diagnosed with the form of arthritis. “[I tried] every ointment, cream, serum, and foam you can possibly imagine and everything from the dermatologist,” she writes. “I even tried an herbal tea that tasted like tar. I tried celery juice for eight weeks. Then I’d do celery juice mixed with the tea. I would do that twice a day. I was just exhausted by everything. I changed my diet to plant-based.”
Ultimately, she still struggles every day, but she’s become comfortable with her psoriasis, and is working on treating her arthritis effectively. “If you have psoriasis, you can’t let it ruin your life or get the best of you,” she writes. “You have to do what you can to make sure you are comfortable but not let it take over.”