Dealing with Psoriasis in Peoria, AZ
Is a disease that affects the skin and sometimes the joints. It often appears as dry, red, scaly patches (called lesions). These lesions can appear anywhere on the skin, but most often appear on the elbows, knees, scalp, chest, and back.
Psoriasis affects as many as 7.5 million Americans. Psoriasis is the result of an overactive immune system. What makes the immune system start to attack the skin is not fully understood. However, there does seem to be a genetic link to psoriasis, meaning that is has a tendency to run in families.
There are 5 different forms of psoriasis:
- Plaque psoriasis - is the most prevalent form of psoriasis affecting nearly 80% of psoriasis sufferers. Plaque psoriasis is characterized by patches of raised, inflamed red skin covered by a flakey, white build-up called scale. It is usually found on the knees, elbows, scalp, and lower back, but can occur anywhere on the body.
- Guttate psoriasis - is the second most common type of psoriasis. Guttate psoriasis is often preceded by strep throat, and it often starts in childhood or in the teenage years. These lesions usually look like small red dots that appear on the skin. The lesions usually appear on the arms, legs, and trunk.
These last three types are much less common than are Plaque and Guttate psoriasis.
- Inverse psoriasis - is characterized by red, dry, and inflamed patches. They often appear in the folds or creases of the skin, such as the armpits, groin, between the buttocks or under the breasts.
- Pustular psoriasis - is characterized by fluid-filled blister-like spots surrounded by red skin. The blisters can often come and go in cycles. This type of psoriasis is usually localized to specific areas, like the hands and feet, but it can be more generalized covering larger areas of the body.
- Erythrodermic psoriasis - This form of psoriasis is rare and is characterized by skin that looks very inflamed, bright red, and scalded, or burned, and has a tendency to shed or peel. Severe itching and pain may also occur. It can cover most of the body.
Usually, people are affected by only one type of psoriasis at a time. However, one type of psoriasis can sometimes turn into another type.
About 10-30% of people with psoriasis also get psoriatic arthritis which is characterized by pain, stiffness, and swelling in the joints. The joints most affected by this type of arthritis are the ankles, feet, hands, wrists, and lower back. If you have psoriasis and think you might have psoriatic arthritis, you should make an appointment with a rheumatologist for treatment.
They are usually the first-line treatment for mild-moderate psoriasis. A topical is anything that can be put on the surface of the skin.
- Bath solutions such as: apple cider vinegar, Dead Sea Salts, Epsom Salt, and oatmeal products all can be used and added to bath water to help soothe the skin and remove scales.
- Moisturizers and heavier creams to help relieve the dryness and itching. Popular brands include, but are not limited to: Cetaphil, Aquaphor, Eucerin, and Neutrogena. These are just examples of products that are out and available for you to try.
- Steroid creams or ointments - these are only available by prescription from your physician. Steroid creams or ointments are put on top of the affected area and work by slowing down the growth of the skin cells and decrease the inflammation of the skin lesions.
- Tar products - are in many shampoo products and are effective for psoriasis of the scalp. Tar is derived from both coal and wood and is effective in treating the scaling, itching, and inflammation for years.
Phototherapy is usually used for patients with moderate to severe psoriasis. Phototherapy uses different typed of ultraviolet light to treat psoriasis. It is usually performed in a physician's office and requires frequent treatments to achieve the best results.
Systemic treatments are prescription drugs that are given either in the form of either pills taken by mouth or injections. These forms of treatment can affect other systems in the body and are therefore reserved for more severe psoriasis.
Biologics given by mouth:
- Methotrexate - used with severe or disabling psoriasis. It can improve the skin in about six weeks. Side effects include, but are not limited to: liver and lung toxicity, nausea, anemia, tiredness, and insomnia. Regular blood test must be done to check for potential side effects to the liver.
- Cyclosporine - used mostly in cases that have not responded to other treatment. It works quickly to improve psoriasis. However, the potential for kidney side effects limits its usefulness. Side effects include, but are not limited to: decreased kidney function, headache, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol.
- Soriatane - used in cases that have not responded to, or are not candidates for, other therapies. Soriatane is effective in slowing down skin cell growth. However, oral retinoids can cause birth defects. Because of this fact, its use is reserved for those who are not of child bearing potential.
Biologics given by injection:
- Enbrel - is used to treat moderate to severe psoriasis. It is also used in treating psoriatic arthritis. Enbrel can significantly improve quality of life for people with psoriasis. The number one side effect is injection site reaction but there are other potential side effects.
- Humira - is used to treat moderate to severe psoriasis. It is also used in treating psoriatic arthritis. Humira can significantly improve quality of life for people with psoriasis. The number one side effect is injection site reaction but there are other potential side effects.
- There are other injectable biologics available through prescription. However, Enbrel and Humira are the two that are the most commonly used in the treatment of psoriasis.
For More Information:
National Psoriasis Foundation
The American Academy of Dermatology
For more information on Psoriasis Treatment in the Peoria, AZ area, contact Advanced Desert Dermatology at (623) 977-6700 today!