Psoriasis is a diverse experience

Getting the right treatment for you

When your doctor first diagnoses psoriasis it can be a lot to take in. Perhaps you are relieved to learn that something can be done, or you might feel shock, fear, uncertainty, and even anger.1

You’ll certainly have a lot on your mind. For a start, there are several types of psoriasis, all affecting different parts of the body in different ways.

Your psoriasis experience may range from mild symptoms with occasional patches and itching to more severe flare ups. Wherever you are on this spectrum, the important thing is to take control and stay positive.

What is psoriasis?

Psoriasis is a chronic, autoimmune condition that most commonly involves skin cells growing too quickly.The excessive skin cell growth leads to psoriasis lesions.

What causes psoriasis?

The exact cause of psoriasis is still unknown. It is a complex condition with multiple potential causes, which may be genetic, immunological, environmental and psychological. These factors alter how skin cells function, speeding up the rate at which skin cells are produced and shed. The important thing to know is that psoriasis is not contagious. Nobody gave it to you and you cannot pass it on by touch, swimming in the same pool, or even intimate contact.

Is it rare?

Psoriasis is equally common in men and women, and it affects over 7 million people in the United States.3

Psoriasis can start at any age, but most people develop psoriasis in the age 15-35.3

Active control

If you have psoriasis, you don’t need to just live with it. Information is power. One way to start is by learning what the condition is, who it affects and what causes it. Psoriasis is a lifelong condition and the sooner you arm yourself with the essential information about it, the quicker you can gain control and minimize its impact on your life.

Common forms of treatment include:

  • Topical treatments which are applied directly to the skin and prescribed by a doctor. These include: topical corticosteroids, vitamin D3 analogues, and combined fixed-dose products like calcipotriol / betamethasone.
  • Systemic treatments which are not applied directly on the skin, but rather administered in other ways, such as tablets or injections. These include immunosuppressants, cytotoxic drugs and oral retinoids. A special kind of systemic treatments are the so-called biologics that target certain proteins in the immune system.
  • Prescription phototherapy which includes a number of treatments involving a type of light called ultraviolet radiation, or UV.
Beside prescription treatments, people with psoriasis use different kinds of topical products that help keep the skin moisturized and may reduce some of the symptoms associated with psoriasis. These include: bath oil/shower solutions, moisturizers (or emollients), keratolytics (such as salicylic acid) and coal tar shampoos.

Coping with psoriasis

Everyone copes with psoriasis differently and the choice of therapy should be based on conversations between you and your doctor.
A treatment which works well for one person may not work for another. And in some cases, a treatment that has previously worked well for someone may not be the right choice for them in the future.

So work with your doctor to find the right treatment for you.

[References]

  1. https://www.psoriasis.org/about-psoriasis, p. 1, Last accessed date: 11 Aug 2015
  2. http://www.webmd.com/skin-problems-and-treatments/psoriasis/psoriasis-topic-overview, p. 1, Last accessed date: 11 Aug 2015
  3. https://www.psoriasis.org/about-psoriasis, p. 1, Last accessed date: 11 Aug 2015

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