Those who suffer from psoriasis are often as embarrassed by visible, scaly patches of skin as they are uncomfortable from the pain or itching caused by the inflamed skin. Some patients feel their disease holds them back from interacting with others, dictates their clothing choices, or restricts their activities.
But there is help and hope for psoriasis patients. Working with a trusted dermatologist at Florida Dermatology and Skin Cancer Centers to find the right combination of treatments and medications can improve all that.
What exactly is psoriasis?
The first flare-up of psoriasis is sometimes mistaken as an allergic reaction or rash. While it can be triggered by something as simple as strep throat or a stressful situation, psoriasis is a chronic autoimmune disease that may have a genetic origin. Basically, the disease causes skin to grow faster than old skin cells shed away, resulting in a build-up of flaky, itchy, and painful skin patches. The red patches with silvery flakes are called plaques and are commonly found on knees or elbows. Mild cases can often be effectively treated with topical products. Severe cases – covering more than 10% of the patient’s body – may require a more aggressive approach.
As an inflammatory disease, psoriasis can also affect other parts of the body. Patients with psoriasis are at higher risk of heart attack and stroke, as well as joint pain and psoriatic arthritis.
Will it go away?
Symptoms can be treated, but psoriasis is a chronic disease. When a patient can identify causes of flares, he or she can take efforts to avoid those triggers as much as possible. Often changes to diet, experimental with different hygiene and other chemical products, and reducing stress can offer relief from psoriasis flares. A variety of medical interventions are available, and the team at Florida Dermatology and Skin Cancer Centers will work closely with the patient to find the best regimen for his or her situation.
How do you treat it? Treatments fall into three categories:
- Topical treatments. Various products slow the growth of skin cells, reduce inflammation and discomfort, or cause the outer layer of skin to shed.
- Phototherapy treatments. These involve the use of ultraviolet rays, targeted to affected areas to slow skin growth and clear up inflammation.
- Full body medications. These are either oral or injectable medications, also used to ease inflammation and slow the production of skin cells. The injectable products are also called biologics, because they are protein-based drugs made from cultured, living cells.
Our board-certified dermatologists will discuss the potential benefits and side effects of each type of treatment, based on the patient’s symptoms and will monitor the response. Sometimes it takes several months to see results. Finding the most effective combination personal changes and medications is a collaborative process for doctor and patient, but relief from pain and discomfort can be achieved.
Psoriasis doesn’t have to control your life. Take control of illness and restore hope by seeking quality dermatology care. Call 863-293-2147 or visit www.fldscc.com for more information about Florida Dermatology and Skin Cancer Centers. Complete office listings are available on the website.