Psoriasis is an autoimmune disease and is a chronic inflammatory skin condition. It can cause the formation of elevated and thickened skin lesions known as plaques with redness or erythema. According to the National Psoriasis Foundation, it is linked to an autoimmune system response that causes this inflammation, causing fresh skin cells to be produced much more quickly, and older skin cells to be shed much more slowly. It can be associated with genetics and family history of this condition.
While there is no current cure for this condition, it can be very effectively managed to control the active inflammation and flares or outbreaks. At Mark Fisher, MD FACR in Haddon Heights and South Jersey, our Rheumatologist Dr. Mark Fisher can recommend a personalized psoriasis management plan that may include certain medications to control this condition very effectively.
How Psoriasis is Controlled and Treated
You can live a comfortable and active life. An effective management plan can be customized to your state of psoriasis that usually begins with your primary physician or Dermatologist. The initial program frequently includes topical creams or ointments. These often contain steroids, Vitamin D derivatives, and other medications. Light programs with your Dermatologist can be helpful.
If this fails to manage psoriasis effectively, other injectable treatments known as biologics can be used, and these have been shown to be the most effective agents at the present time. These can be administered or recommended by your Dermatologist or Rheumatologist. Some of these agents can be administered by self-injection subcutaneously, or by your Rheumatologist intravenously. Dr. Mark Fisher has been doing such procedures for his psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis patients for many years now. This has made huge differences in patients’ lives.
Of course, patients must be aware of the adverse risks of these medications including infection. Appropriate assessments to reduce such risks should be undertaken, and these may include laboratory testing and preventive vaccines.
It is really important to try and control this systemic illness to reduce the risks for further complications. Many such patients may develop psoriatic arthritis affecting many joints, and this can be similar to aggressive arthritis seen in Rheumatoid Arthritis with pain, swelling, and potentially very destructive arthritis. If not treated early and effectively with these agents, joint damage and deformity can develop.
Lifestyle adjustments and supportive but not definitive therapies can also include:
- Avoid skin exposure to dry and cold conditions
- Refrain from alcohol
- Avoid skin injuries
- Adequate rest and eating a balanced diet that will keep your immune system strong
- Avoid excess exposure to the sun and coverups and sunscreens to prevent sunburn
- Stop smoking
- Managing your stress levels
- Phototherapy and topicals as referenced above for treating early and mild psoriasis rashes
- Other medications can include: Antihistamines for reducing itchiness
- Antifungal medications or antibiotics for treating secondary fungal or bacterial infections
Finally, further complications from uncontrolled psoriasis can be serious and usually prevented. These may include psoriatic arthritis, secondary fungal or bacterial infections resulting from the breaks in the skin, and inflammation from psoriasis.
Early diagnosis and proper current state-of-the-art medical care can be very effective in minimizing and protecting you from the additional risks of developing these complications and related conditions.
If you need or would like more information on Treating and Managing Your Psoriasis, please contact us.
Schedule an appointment with Mark Fisher MD FACR, our Board Certified Rheumatologist in Haddon Heights, NJ, and treating patients all over South Jersey, by dialing (856) 547-8004.
New patients are welcome and our in-office infusion center welcomes you if such services are indicated.