Psoriasis is a life-long skin disease that causes red, itchy, scaly patches to form on the body. It can appear anywhere on your body, but it most commonly affects the elbows, knees, torso, and scalp. Roughly 7 million people in the United States live with psoriasis.
If you’re diagnosed with psoriasis, visiting a rheumatology specialist is an excellent place to start on the path to managing this skin disease, which currently has no cure. Here at Valerius Medical Group & Research Center, rheumatologists Nathaniel Neal, MD, and Rebekah Neal-Kraal, MD, use the latest and most innovative treatments to help patients live well with rheumatic diseases.
Psoriasis is a common skin disease that tends to cycle between periods where symptoms are worse or more prominent and times when symptoms are mild or less noticeable. If you have psoriasis, you may experience:
Symptoms can range from mild to severe. Some people have just a few spots of mildly scaly skin, while others can have major eruptions that last for weeks to months. It’s important to see a rheumatologist for an accurate diagnosis and care.
To the untrained eye, psoriasis may look like another skin condition, such as eczema. Dr. Neal and Dr. Neal-Kraal possess the training and experience to promptly and accurately diagnose psoriasis, so you can begin a treatment plan to ease your symptoms and minimize flare-ups.
There are several types of psoriasis, and they are as follows:
Plaque psoriasis is the most common form. It causes dry, scaly patches of skin — called plaques — to form, which tend to itch or feel tender.
This type of psoriasis is often triggered by a bacterial infection, and it most commonly impacts children and young adults. It causes small, scaly lesions to develop on the arms, legs, and torso.
Some people with psoriasis have a form of arthritis called psoriatic arthritis, which causes joint problems. Most people with psoriatic arthritis develop psoriasis first before symptoms of arthritis develop. Psoriatic arthritis can affect any joint. The most common symptoms are joint stiffness and pain. Damage to the joint is usually progressive and worsens over time.
Nail psoriasis affects the fingernails and toenails, causing them to thicken and change color. Nails affected by psoriasis tend to grow thick and may separate from the nailbed and take on a crumbly texture.
Your provider will work closely with you to develop an effective treatment plan to manage your psoriasis and prevent complications. Treatment will depend on the type of psoriasis you have, your symptoms, and the severity. The goal of treatment is to prevent the body from rapidly producing skin cells and to remove skin cell buildup.
If you have psoriasis, your treatment may entail any of the following treatments alone or in combination:
These medicated creams and ointments soothe the skin, reduce inflammation, and slow skin cell growth.
These topical medications help reduce skin buildup and inflammation.
Phototherapy or light therapy penetrates the skin and slows the growth of affected skin cells.
This medication — which is typically given once a week — helps suppress inflammation and skin cell growth.
These medications interfere with the immune system response to help stop the cycle of inflammation and ease symptoms.
This type of medication helps slow skin cell growth.
These are some of the most common approaches to managing psoriasis. Your provider will determine the best treatment approach for you.
By sticking with an effective treatment plan, people with psoriasis can lead normal, healthy lives and minimize the disease’s impact on their quality of life. To learn more about treating psoriasis, book an appointment over the phone with Valerius Medical Group & Research Center today.