Learning About Psoriasis

Did you know that 7.5 million Americans suffer from psoriasis? Psoriasis is a chronic non-contagious multisystem, inflammatory disorder. It is known for its symptoms that typically include painful, itchy rashes that tend to be red and scaly.  The disease has a waxing and waning pattern, which means it flares up periodically and goes away.  These flares ups related to systemic or environmental factors, including life stress events and infection.

What type of treatment is available for psoriasis?

Treatment varies, and different treatments work for different people.  The first line of treatment however, is sun exposure, topical moisturizers and relaxation.  Another treatment option includes corticosteroids. Corticosteroids are useful in there topical application, however system steroids are ineffective and can significantly exacerbate the disease upon withdrawal.  For severe cases, systemic immunesupressants can be used.  These include drugs like methotrexate, cyclosporine, and azathioprine.

What can you do if you have psoriasis?

Following the ebb and flow of our flares can help target your treatment.  For many, journaling symptoms and flare-ups can be helpful.  Here are some suggestions:

    • Journal daily at an established time: This helps establish journaling as a habit so you are less likely to miss a dayIf you do miss a few times in a row, it might not be a good time, pick a new one.  Journaling daily helps establish patterns.  For example, you might not have had symptoms the day you felt stress, but a week later when you get a flare it can help to look back on the prior two weeksA flare can appear up to 2 weeks following an inciting event.
    • Ask regular standard questions: Ask yourself to record trigger exposures daily. Record medicine compliance, are there any deviations from the norm? How’s your psoriasis affecting your life?
    • Detail any flare-ups: Describe flare ups as detailed as possible. Also include a summary of all of your medical treatments and responds to those medications.

Make sure you become an active participant in your medical care. This strategy could work for any chronic illness. By documenting the course of your disease between doctor’s visits you can come prepared with the detailed information that could be helpful in identifying the best way to treat the disease.