Psoriasis is a condition that affects many people and is more than just a “rash”. The classic case is a pink rash with silver scale particularly over the elbows and knees but psoriasis can take many forms for different patients. There is plaque psoriasis, scalp psoriasis, palmoplantar psoriasis, pustular psoriasis, guttate psoriasis and the joint destroying psoriatic arthritis.
Psoriasis can affect people at any point in their lives. It rarely affects children and is more common to appear in young adulthood or later in life. Some are very self-conscious about rash causing them to change the types of clothes they wear. It is even associated with a higher incidence of depression. Studies have shown psoriasis to be an independent risk factor of diabetes as well as heart disease.
During August (Psoriasis awareness month) our goal is educate those without psoriasis that the condition is not contagious, is not an infection and is of no fault of theirs. We try to educate those with psoriasis that there are now many medications available that address all types of psoriasis which are highly effective usually with minimal side effects. For mild or limited disease, we usually start with topical creams, ointments, foams and shampoos. These include steroids but also include nonsteroidal medications including salicylic acid, vitamin A derivatives and vitamin D. For harder to treat or more extensive involvement there are systemic treatments. These are highly effective and can even improve arthritic symptoms.
Patients should schedule an appointment with one of our Dermatologists to tailor treatment based on their symptoms, their concerns over side effects and preference due to aversion of needles, or applying creams all over. Treatment options have come a long way in the past 20, 10 and even 5 years. The goal years ago was to make it better, while now the goal is clear skin!