What is psoriasis?
Psoriasis is an autoimmune disease that causes raised, red, scaly patches to appear on the skin. It typically affects the outside of the elbows, knees or scalp, though it can appear on any location. It can be itchy, burn and sting. Psoriasis is associated with other serious health conditions, such as diabetes, heart disease and depression.
How do you get psoriasis?
While experts do not know what exactly causes psoriasis, we do know that the immune system and genetics play major roles in its development. Usually, something triggers psoriasis to flare. The skin cells in people with psoriasis grow at an abnormally fast rate, which causes the buildup of psoriasis lesions. Psoriasis often develops between the ages of 15 and 35, but it can develop at any age. Psoriasis is not contagious and it is not something you can "catch" or that others can catch from you.
How is psoriasis diagnosed?
There are no special blood tests or tools to diagnose psoriasis. Most commonly, a diagnosis of psoriasis can be made after a full medical history and physical exam is performed by one of our dermatologists. Sometimes, a small sample of skin (biopsy) is taken and examined under a microscope to determine the exact type of psoriasis and to rule out other disorders.
What type of psoriasis do I have?
There are five types of psoriasis. After having a comprehensive evaluation by one of our dermatologists, we can help you learn more about your particular type of psoriasis in order to best help you manage it.
Will you develop psoriatic arthritis?
Roughly 11% of patients with psoriasis have also been diagnosed with psoriatic arthritis. However, approximately 30% of people with psoriasis will eventually develop psoriatic arthritis.
Psoriatic arthritis often may go undiagnosed, particularly in its milder forms. However, it's important to treat psoriatic arthritis early on to help avoid permanent joint damage. If you need a specialist to manage your psoriatic arthritis, our staff can help refer you to a psoriatic arthritis specialist.
How is your psoriasis treated?
Psoriasis can be treated many ways and each patient responds differently. Treatment options include topical medications and systemic medications. Used alone, creams and ointments that you apply to your skin can effectively treat mild to moderate psoriasis. When the psoriasis is more severe, topical creams can be combined with oral or injected medications. Topical psoriasis treatments include: topical corticosteroids, Vitamin D analogues, topical retinoids, calcineurin inhibitors, salicyclic acid, and moisturizers. Oral and injectable medications include: retinoids, methotrexate, cyclosporine, and biologics such as etanercept (Enbrel), infliximab (Remicade), adalimumab (Humira), and ustekinumab (Stelara).
Our goal here at Clear Dermatology & Aesthetics Center is to help you best manage your psoriasis with the most advanced treatments and the fewest side effects. If you would like to schedule an appointment with one of our providers to discuss your psoriasis, please call our office and one of our staff will be happy to assist you.