Psoriasis–When to see a Dermatology Provider
When patients are struggling with skin conditions, it can often impact the way they look and feel about themselves. One condition that is commonly seen at Braun Dermatology is psoriasis. Though it can occur in children and adolescents, psoriasis typically occurs in adulthood. Men and women are affected equally. Though there is no cure for psoriasis, there are many options that our providers at Braun Dermatology in Washington, DC and Alexandria, VA can offer to help improve the symptoms and appearance of the condition.
Psoriasis may be more common than you think. According to the World Psoriasis Day consortium, over 8 million Americans experience the signs and symptoms of psoriasis. It is also thought to effect 2-3 percent of the world’s population.
As with other skin conditions, the exact cause of psoriasis is not known. However, it is thought to be a combination of the immune system, genetics and the environment. Around 40% of individuals with a psoriasis diagnosis have a family history of the condition. Alcohol consumption, a smoking history, and certain medications (like beta-blockers) put individuals at a higher risk for developing psoriasis. Along with an immune system that causes rapid cell development and decreased cell shedding, these factors result in a red, thickened and silver-scaled plaque forming on the skin.
There are several subtypes of psoriasis. Along with these plaques, most types of psoriasis involve:
- Rashes on the scalp, genitals or skin folds
- Itching, burning and/or pain
- Stiff or swollen joints
- Nail changes (pitting, discoloration, thickening or weakening)
Psoriasis should be appropriately diagnosed by dermatology provider. This may be done through a skin biopsy or through clinical exam/history. Your provider may ask you screening questions as psoriasis may be related to other medical conditions. Psoriatic arthritis, in particular is found in many patient’s with psoriasis . Depression, anxiety and cardiovascular disease also occur with higher frequency in those with psoriasis. There are a number of resources available to provide support for patients and their families, such as the National Psoriasis Foundation (www.psoriasis.org).
The most important aspect of psoriasis management is understanding that there is no cure for psoriasis.
Treatment can help minimize the severity of symptoms and appearance of the rash. The options may range from over the counter emollients (Vaseline, for example) and over the counter exfoliating preparations (like tar) to prescription medications (like corticosteroids, topical Vitamin D and non-steroidal anti-inflammatories). Prescription medications may also be in the form of oral medications or a group of medications called “biologics.” These systemic treatments may lower your ability to fight infection, so they are not appropriate for everyone. In some instances, UV therapy may be a treatment option.
Your provider will help determine what treatment option will be the most effective based on the severity of your condition and your lifestyle.
We’re Here to Help
If you or someone you love is struggling with the symptoms of psoriasis or what you think could be psoriasis, let the Braun Dermatology team help. Our medical dermatology professionals will assist with diagnosis and discuss which treatment options are right for you.
Find us near the corner of New Mexico Ave NW, Suite 301 in DC or on Kingstowne Village Parkway in Alexandria, VA!
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Braun Dermatology & Skin Cancer Center
Braun Dermatology is home to a team of highly qualified, experienced providers, including board-certified dermatologists, physician assistants, and master estheticians. Every team member relies on advanced training and expertise to provide optimal care. Patients in and around Washington, DC, and Alexandria, VA, trust Braun Dermatology and Skin Cancer Center for their reliable, evidence-based approach to dermatology.