Psoriasis Medications & Phototherapy Treatments
In many cases, psoriasis patches will cover such a large portion of the skin that the sufferer doesn't want to leave his or her home without wearing long sleeves, long pants and significant amounts of makeup. Psoriasis can also cause itching and pain. Whatever your symptoms may be, this condition is both frustrating and unpredictable. Fortunately, effective treatments are available to help manage or eliminate the symptoms of psoriasis.
Psoriasis occurs as a result of an extreme overgrowth of skin cells. In patients with psoriasis, skin cells multiply much more quickly than they should, which causes the unsightly symptoms associated with the condition. It is genetically linked, so multiple family members may suffer from the skin disorder. Even with treatment, symptoms tend to come and go over the patient's lifetime.
Signs and Symptoms
Several types of psoriasis exist, and the symptoms of these conditions vary. The most common form of the disease is plaque psoriasis, which causes itchy or painful lesions on the skin. These lesions are usually red and covered with thick scales, and they may occur anywhere on the body. Other forms of the immune-mediated skin disease may cause:
- Extreme redness and scales that shed in sheets
- Small red spots on the skin
- Shiny, reddish skin lesions
- Red, scaly skin with small pustules on the hands and feet
Diagnosis and Treatment
If you have symptoms, your physician can usually diagnose the condition based solely on the appearance of the lesions on your skin. Usually a physician or dermatologist can determine the type of psoriasis causing the symptoms during a basic physical examination. Depending on the diagnosis, treatments may include:
- Topical creams
- Oral medications
- Injected medications
- Light therapy
In most cases, your doctor will begin with less invasive treatments, such as a topical cream. However, if the condition doesn't respond well, the physician may progress to something more invasive.
Outcomes and Follow-up
Regardless of the treatment chosen, the skin condition tends to recur. Flare ups may be caused by a number of events, including infections, emotional trauma, exposure to certain drugs and injuries to the skin. According to WebMD, lifestyle factors such as smoking can also contribute to the severity of this condition.
Following the initial treatment of psoriasis, you may experience a period of remission. During this time, the symptoms of your condition will be minimal or nonexistent. However, over time, psoriasis symptoms may return. If the symptoms return, you may be treated for the condition again. For some patients, doctors may prescribe a preventative treatment, such as an oral medication, that you can continue taking even when symptoms subside.
Some patients with psoriasis may experience a related condition known as psoriatic arthritis. This condition causes chronic pain, swelling and may result in lasting damage to the joints. Treatments for psoriatic arthritis are usually different from normal treatments of the skin disease. To maintain good skin health and learn more about treatments, contact a Metropolitan Dermatology office in Clark, Kearny, Teaneck, New Jersey and Staten Island New York.