Psoriasis is a common, chronic, inflammatory, condition affecting about 2% of the population. Though it can present at any age, the usual course is diagnosis around teenage to young adulthood years with a chronic, recurring course. There is usually a family history of psoriasis, but it is important to note that in 25% of people with psoriasis, there is no known case in the extended family. While there are several sub-types of psoriasis, the most common is plaque-type psoriasis. This subtype classically appears as raised, sharply bordered plaques or small bumps with a silvery, adherent scale on top. Plaque psoriasis often affects the scalp, elbows, and knees, (although any area of the skin can be affected). The underlying cause of psoriasis is not yet fully understood. However, we do know that it is an autoimmune condition that occurs in genetically susceptible individuals. Many people recall that a stressful event had triggered their psoriasis. This is an interesting phenomenon because we know that stress may lead to changes in the immune system that may allow an underlying condition, such as psoriasis, to be expressed during the stressful event. Importantly, psoriasis is not contagious and poses no harm to those who come in contact with affected individuals.
The diagnosis of psoriasis is generally made by clinical inspection alone, usually by a dermatologist. However, there are cases where confirmation of the diagnosis is needed through a simple skin biopsy. It is important to differentiate psoriasis from other skin conditions because psoriasis may have a variety of internal associations. Chief among these is a progressively deteriorating joint disease called psoriatic arthritis which affects up to 30% of people with psoriasis. Studies have shown that left untreated, psoriatic arthritis can lead to permanent joint damage in as little as 6 months and thus early recognition and treatment is critical. Furthermore, the systemic inflammatory nature of psoriasis is now believed to be a risk factor for heart disease, strokes, and depression. If you have psoriasis, it is important to maintain a healthy lifestyle and to speak to a professional regarding any signs or symptoms of heart disease, anxiety or depression.
Although there is no cure for psoriasis, the wonderful news about living with psoriasis is that there are many highly effective treatments that are now available to treat this chronic condition. With currently available therapies, most patients can maintain their skin nearly-clear and prevent symptoms of psoriatic arthritis and most importantly, halt the progression of any joint disease.
To be treated adequately, it is important that you are seen by a board-certified dermatologist for proper assessment to determine the most appropriate treatment option suitable to you.
At Skin & Beauty Center, we offer a wide range of treatment options for people living with psoriasis. Ranging from various topical agents, laser treatments with our state-of-the-art FDA-approved XTRAC excimer laser, and FDA-approved oral and injectable biologic treatments.
Our aim is for our patients with psoriasis to achieve clearance of their skin disease while minimizing side effects of their treatments. If you think you or someone you know has psoriasis, we advise scheduling a consultation with one of our board-certified dermatologists. Our providers will properly evaluate your history and perform proper skin examination to provide you with an appropriate diagnosis, counseling and management for your skin condition.