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Psoriasis is commonly mistaken as nothing more than a “skin condition.” But it’s actually a chronic disease of the immune system that can affect the skin, joints, and increase your risk for heart disease and depression. While the exact cause of psoriasis is unknown, scientists believe it is rooted in immune dysregulation that leads to inflammation. When you have plaque psoriasis, the most common form of psoriasis, your immune system is overactive, initiating skin inflammation and causing skin cells to be produced much more quickly than normal. New skin cells are pushed to the skin’s surface every 3-4 days instead of the usual 28-30 days. This results in the red scaly plaques of psoriasis.
In addition to symptoms that appear on your skin, psoriasis can also affect your joints through a related condition called psoriatic arthritis. Tell your dermatologist about any pain, stiffness, or swelling you’ve experienced in and around your joints. We may refer you to a rheumatologist for evaluation. Patients with psoriasis are also at increased risk of heart disease, diabetes or metabolic syndrome, and depression. For patients with psoriasis it is important to have a primary care physician who can monitor and treat high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, and depression.
While there’s currently no cure for psoriasis we have more treatment options today than we have ever had. Psoriasis medications aim to reduce the severity of symptoms by slowing the over-production of skin cells, and reducing inflammation.
At Dermatology San Antonio we understand how psoriasis impacts your quality of life and wellbeing. We offer the full range of psoriasis treatments including topical creams, narrow band UVB light treatment, oral medications, and the newer injectable biologic medicines. The choice of treatment depends on the severity of your disease, the presence or absence of psoriatic arthritis, your preference and your other medical conditions. While not every treatment works on every patient, our Board Certified Dermatologists and Diplomate of the Society of Dermatology Physician Assistant will work with you to determine which psoriasis treatment is best for you.
Lastly, we also participate in clinical trials of new medications being studied to treat psoriasis. Please contact our study nurse, Linda Spencer, for more information. For more information, view our Clinical Research page.