Heartbreak of Psoriasis
The common skin condition Psoriasis (often referred to as the “Heartbreak of Psoriasis”) is more than just a skin disease.
Psoriasis was once believed to be a disease limited to the skin that had red and scaly plaques present anywhere on the skin, hair, or nails. Apart from the external skin symptoms and potential embarrassment the symptoms may cause, this disease may signal an increase in total body inflammation. As a result, people that have psoriasis are at an increased risk for things such as heart disease, high blood pressure, arthritis, and obesity.
It was previously believed that the cause of psoriasis was just an overgrowth of skin cells. Today, the cause of psoriasis is more clearly understood and attributed to an overactive immune system. This overactive immune system explains the changes we see both externally and internally in patients that suffer from psoriasis.
Years ago people with severe disease often had a low self esteem, missed work and school days, and often became disabled at an early age. They underwent messy therapies that only seemed to help the skin symptoms when they worked at all. Most patients report benefiting from sunlight or tanning bed exposure which may increase their risk of developing skin cancer and signs of skin aging. The latest therapies target the increased immune response. They can safely and effectively lower the immune system enough to clear skin and other associated internal manifestations of the disease. These new therapies have changed the way we treat psoriasis sufferers and have allowed them to live a relatively normal life.
Here at SCPOG, Dr Cohen leads the nation in treatment of this devastating disease. In addition to having a large volume of patients on internal agents to treat this disease, he is also heavily involved in clinical research. We have a full time research facility that tests newer drugs that are being evaluated for the treatment of psoriasis and treatment of other serious medical conditions. We are a regional referral center for psoriasis treatment from other areas in Georgia. He has extensive experience lecturing and teaching on a national level and also teaches medical students and residents as well as PA students from various local universities.
Often we hear “thanks doc, you were the only one to offer me something which cleared me”. It gives us great pleasure and satisfaction being able to offer patients an approach to treating this terrible disease. Patients will often tell us they have been to several doctors for their skin and have been given different creams but not offered any other choices. Not all physicians feel comfortable in treating this disease, nor have the needed expertise. Patients really need to seek out a group that has the knowledge and the desire to treat this disease state with all of the available agents and approaches necessary to quiet this disease. In addition to medical therapy, we often examine lifestyle choices such as obesity, nutrition, and food supplements that may benefit overall health.
If you are tired of living with this disease, make an appointment with us and say goodbye to your psoriasis.
There are several forms of psoriasis, and each form has unique characteristics that allow dermatologists to visually identify psoriasis to determine what type, or types, of psoriasis is present. Sometimes a skin biopsy will be performed to confirm the diagnosis.
To diagnose psoriasis, we will:
- Examine a patient’s skin, nails, and scalp for signs of psoriasis.
- Ask whether family members have psoriasis.
- Learn about what has been happening in the patient’s life. A dermatologist may want to know whether a patient has been under a lot of stress, had a recent illness, or just started taking a medicine.
Sometimes we will also removes a bit of skin. By looking at the removed skin under a microscope, one can confirm whether a person has psoriasis.
Currently, there is no cure for psoriasis. However, there are many treatment options that can clear psoriasis for a period of time. Each treatment has advantages and disadvantages, and what works for one patient may not be effective for another. Board-certified dermatologists have the medical training and experience needed to determine the most appropriate treatments for each patient.
To choose the most appropriate treatment method, we consider several factors:
- Type of psoriasis
- Severity (the amount of skin affected)
- Where psoriasis is located
- Patient’s age and medical history
- Effects psoriasis has on patient’s overall physical and emotional well-being
Treating psoriasis has benefits. Treatment can reduce signs and symptoms of psoriasis, which usually makes a person feel better. With treatment, some people see their skin completely clear. Treatment can even improve a person’s quality of life.
Psoriasis treatments fall into 3 categories:
- Topical (applied to the skin) – Mild to moderate psoriasis
- Phototherapy (light, usually ultraviolet, applied to the skin) – Moderate to severe psoriasis
- Systemic (taken orally or by injection or infusion) – Moderate, severe or disabling psoriasis
Thanks to ongoing research, there are many treatments for psoriasis. It is important to work with a dermatologist to find treatment that works for you and fits your lifestyle. Every treatment has benefits, drawbacks, and possible side effects.
Psoriasis is a chronic (long-lasting) disease of the immune system. It cannot be cured. This means that most people have psoriasis for life. By teaming up with a dermatologist who treats psoriasis, you can find a treatment plan that works for you.
Dermatologists encourage their patients who have psoriasis to take an active role in managing this disease. By taking an active role, you can reduce the effects that psoriasis has on your quality of life.
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We have used Skin Care Physicians for over 20 years. They are always kind and compassionate. We are grateful for their skilled treatment of our dermatological needs.
Their entire staff gives
excellent, professional care!
– Ginger G.-