Psoriasis is an autoimmune disorder that primarily affects the skin, but it can also affect the nails and joints. The condition can also range from mild to severe. Mild is defined as affecting less than three percent of the patient’s skin. Three to ten percent is considered moderate, while over ten percent is considered severe.
There are also several types of psoriasis, with the plaque type being by far the most common, and several types of psoriatic arthritis. Consequently, doctors can’t take a “one-size-fits-all” approach to treatment. They have to tailor the treatment depending on the type of psoriasis and its severity.
What are Psoriasis Triggers?
A trigger is a stimulus that can either cause a flare-up or make one worse. Since different patients have different triggers, identifying a trigger is part of the challenge of diagnosing and treating psoriasis. Common triggers include the following:
• Dry and cold weather can dry out the skin and, thus, increase the chances of a flare-up. By contrast, sunny and hot weather can actually improve symptoms to the point that staying in the sun for a given time can be an actual therapy.
• Smoking and drinking alcohol are both believed to make symptoms worse. Drinking alcohol can increase the chances of a flare-up, particularly in men.
• Some medications can also cause flare-ups. Examples include lithium, beta-blockers, and some anti-malaria drugs. Infections and injuries can also cause flare-ups, and some diseases, like HIV, can make symptoms worse. Stress can also worsen the condition.
How is Psoriasis Treated?
While there is so far no cure for psoriasis, there are treatments for it, and at Metro Dermatology, we customized the treatments for the patient. Topical treatments or skin creams and ointments may be used by themselves to treat mild to moderate cases or combined with another therapy to treat severe cases. They can reduce itching and inflammation and/or slow down skin cell production. Oral medications are the big guns, and they may be used to treat severe or resistant cases. Some of these medications work by suppressing the immune system.
If you have psoriasis, you already know how upsetting it can be. Schedule a consultation at Metro Dermatology to learn about your treatment options. We have locations in Flushing, Elmhurst, Englewood, and the Bronx. Contact us today to schedule an appointment!