What is Psoriasis?
Psoriasis is an immune-mediated skin disease that causes inflammation in the body and is characterized by raised scaly plaques on the skin. While any area of the skin may be affected, psoriasis plaques are commonly found on the knees, elbows, trunk, and scalp. The inflammation from psoriasis can also affect the joints, causing psoriatic arthritis.
Psoriasis is very common, affecting approximately 8 million people in the United States. Psoriasis symptoms generally start in early adulthood but can begin at any age. Men, women, and children of all skin colors can get psoriasis.
Why See a Dermatologist about Psoriasis
Patients with psoriasis may have physical discomfort or social stress resulting from their disease. With appropriate treatment and partnership with their dermatologist, patients are able to better manage their skin and joint disease.
Psoriasis is often associated with increased inflammatory markers and overall inflammation in the body. Chronic inflammation can lead to further health complications. Patients with psoriasis of the skin have increased risk for psoriatic arthritis, heart disease, metabolic syndrome, and other inflammatory concerns. A dermatologist can provide valuable education about these risks and help you identify when you should seek additional care from other specialists.
How Dermatologists Treat Psoriasis
At Dermatology Duluth, we utilize a variety of methods to treat psoriasis. These treatments include:
- Topical psoriasis medications – these psoriasis treatments include shampoos, anti-inflammatory lotions or creams, and vitamin a and vitamin D derivatives. Topical psoriasis medications are applied directly to the skin and are often the first line of treatment. Sometimes we recommend light therapies such as narrowband ultraviolet light in combination with topical medications.
- Systemic psoriasis medications – There are also many systemic medications which can be used to reduce the inflammation and psoriasis. These may be administered orally or by injection.
The newest class of these systemic medications is referred to as “biologics”. Biologics target and neutralize different chemical messengers in the inflammatory pathway leading to psoriasis.
At Dermatology Duluth, we pride ourselves on treating each patient as a true individual. Your psoriasis treatment will be tailored to your specific disease presentation and overall health.
What to Expect At Your Psoriasis Evaluation
At your appointment, you will receive a thorough skin exam, and possibly a biopsy to aid in diagnosis and treatment. After this examination, Dr. Reich will help you understand what treatment options may be best for you, and together you will chart a course towards effective psoriasis management.