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What is Psoriasis?

Psoriasis is chronic skin condition involving the immune system. Your body’s immune system gets a little confused and sends signals to your skin to keep making extra skin cells – leading to thick, scaly spots known as “psoriasis plaques.”
Psoriasis is different for each person. Sometimes it develops slowly and only in certain areas. Sometimes it happens rather quickly and can go anywhere on the body.
No, psoriasis is not contagious.

How many people have psoriasis?

  • More than 8 million Americans have psoriasis.
  • About 2% of the population will develop psoriasis.

Is psoriasis associated with any other health problems?

About 1 out of every 3 psoriasis patients will develop psoriatic arthritis. Psoriasis can cause joint pain, swollen fingers, joint stiffness, and fatigue.
Psoriasis is also linked with comorbidities such as diabetes, heart disease, and depression.

What can flare psoriasis?

Stress, medicines, and certain infections are the most common triggers that flare psoriasis.

How do I know if I have psoriasis?

Psoriasis is a “clinical diagnosis” – meaning generally no lab tests or biopsies are needed.  A trained eye of a board-certified dermatologist is sufficient to diagnose psoriasis.  Dr. Haseltine and Dr. Holcomb are both board certified in dermatology and have extensive experience diagnosing and treating psoriasis.

How do I treat Psoriasis?

  • The first step is seeing a board-certified dermatologist to properly diagnose your skin condition and to offer appropriate treatment.
  • Treatments may be in the form of creams, oral medications, light therapy, or injectable medications.
  • Your doctor will choose the right treatment for you depending on your disease severity and other health issues.
  • Improved overall health level is associated with improvement of psoriasis. Weight loss and decreased alcohol intake can improve psoriasis. Stress can flare psoriasis as well, so exercise and a healthy lifestyle are important for improving psoriasis.

What is a “biologic medicine” used to treat psoriasis?

This is a newer class of medicines that work by targeting and lowering the overactive parts of the immune system to decrease inflammation. Although we call these “newer” medications – some biologics have been FDA approved for over 20 years! Biologics are generally given as infrequent shots, which can be done at home or at your doctor’s office. Talk to your doctor about which biologic medication may be right for you. Dr. Haseltine has extensive training and experience with using biologic therapy for psoriasis. Pure Dermatology is part of a nation wide psoriasis registry for all biologic therapy, which studies effectiveness, and safety of biologic therapies.  

Are Biologic Medicines safe to treat psoriasis?

Yes, biologic medicines are safe to treat psoriasis. Some of these medicines have 20-year safety data – meaning that they have been FDA approved for over 20 years and we know that long-term side effects are very minimal to none. The newer medications are specifically targeted and have very few side effects.

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