New Treatment Options for Psoriasis
2 min. read
There’s good news for the 7.5 million Americans who suffer from psoriasis – the autoimmune disease that causes raised, red, scaly patches to appear on the skin. Rather than treat flare-ups with a gradual approach, many doctors take a more proactive approach to make the most of long-term treatment from the first visit, reports the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
“More treatment options are becoming available for people with moderate-to-severe psoriasis,” said Patricia Feito, M.D., a family medicine specialist affiliated with Baptist Health. “There is ample evidence showing therapies that target specific aspects of a person’s immune system can be effective for many patients.”
The first step in treating the disease is properly diagnosing it in its early stages, says Dr. Feito. In most cases, doctors can make a psoriasis diagnosis by considering the location, appearance and symptoms of the rash. Psoriasis usually is found on the outside of knees and elbows, the scalp, lower back, face, palms and the soles of feet. The symptoms of psoriasis – pain, swelling, burning, itching and redness – can create significant physical and emotional discomfort for people who have the disease.
Your doctor also will consider your family history. About one-third of those with psoriasis have a family member with the disease, according to the National Psoriasis Foundation. These genes, say researchers, can combine with various external factors to “trigger” the disease. Psoriasis triggers vary by individual and can include stress, medication, injury to skin and infection.
Psoriasis and Other Chronic Conditions
People with psoriasis are at risk for developing or exacerbating associated diseases, including lymphoma, heart disease, diabetes, inflammatory bowel disease, depression and metabolic syndrome – a combination of obesity, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes. With this in mind, Dr. Feito recommends patients adopt a team approach to treatment by partnering with their primary care physician and a dermatologist experienced with psoriasis.
Since there is no cure for psoriasis, the main goals of treatment are to reduce inflammation and stop the rapid reproduction of skin cells. Depending on the severity of the disease and associated diseases, doctors may recommend a combination of therapies, including:
Although psoriasis is a chronic disease with no cure, there are more patient-specific treatments options available today than ever before. A combination of these treatments can help many people avoid the downside of ineffective therapies and increase the number of symptom-free days.
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