Psoriasis, an immune-mediated disease that causes red, scaly patches to appear on the skin, effects approximately seven million Americans, making it the most common autoimmune disease in the country. For individuals effected by psoriasis, it can often be a difficult disease to deal with. However, with continuous management, it is highly treatable. For an in-depth look into psoriasis and how to treat the disease, we spoke with Matt Dohlman, PA-C in dermatology at Utica Park Clinic.
“Psoriasis patients come in many different types,” said Dohlman. “Some individuals have lived with the disease for years, while others are newly diagnosed. If you have had psoriasis for some time, you probably have a management routine that keeps flare-ups to a minimum, depending on the severity. Management can be a bit trickier for those that haven’t been affected that long.”
Awareness and acknowledgement are crucial. “The most important thing is knowing what you’re dealing with,” said Dohlman. “There are other skin conditions that look similar to psoriasis. If you suspect that you have developed psoriasis, you need to visit your doctor immediately. Research over time has shown us that this disease doesn’t just affect your skin. In more severe cases, psoriasis can make you more prone to depression, heart disease and stroke and can also attack your joints.”
Even with the knowledge of psoriasis progressing, the cause of the disease is still unknown, with approximately 30 percent of people having a family history and the remainder of cases developing spontaneously. Psoriasis is also something that is seen in individuals of all ages and genders. “We see patients that develop psoriasis much later in life, but we also see children with the condition as well,” said Dohlman.
There are multiple triggers for psoriasis. “Stress seems to be a major trigger for psoriasis flare-ups,” said Dohlman. “If you are living with psoriasis and are experiencing stressful life events, you will likely see a flare-up. Infections are another trigger for psoriasis, especially strep throat. Some individuals believe that certain foods trigger flare-ups. While this has not been extensively researched, it’s a very individualized thing. We cannot yet say that there are certain foods or diets that make psoriasis better or worse.”
Treatment options vary depending on the individual. “We have more treatment options available now than ever before,” said Dohlman. “If you have a milder case of psoriasis, it can often be treated with topical therapies like creams and lotions. Eating a healthy diet, exercising and reducing stress can also be helpful if your psoriasis is mild. For those with a more severe case, we have seen great success with light therapies, as well as injectable medications called biologics. The biologic injections have proven to be the most effective and are much safer than medications used over the past few decades.”
Dohlman encourages those with psoriasis to be open and honest about their issues. “Don’t be afraid to consult with your doctor about treatment,” said Dohlman. “Psoriasis can often flare up in obscure places on your body like the genital area. Psoriasis is treatable regardless of its location. The sooner you see a doctor, the sooner you can begin treatment to work towards clear skin.”
If you believe you have psoriasis or are looking for a provider to help with your psoriasis treatment, please call 918-492-8980 to make an appointment with Matt Dohlman, PA-C.