Psoriasis is a more common skin condition than many people realize – in fact, according to the American Academy of Dermatology, it impacts about 7.5 million Americans. Understanding more about this condition can help you recognize the symptoms in yourself or your loved ones, leading to earlier diagnosis and more efficient treatment.
At Dermatology Associates of Atlanta, we treat patients with psoriasis on a daily basis and we’re dedicating this blog to giving you the essentials you need to know.
What Is Psoriasis?
Psoriasis is a chronic immune condition that causes your body’s immune system to attack your skin cells. As a response to these attacks, your body produces skin cells at an excessively rapid rate, and this leads to rashes on different areas of your body that are inflamed, flaky, scaly, dry, and itchy.
The symptoms can vary depending on the type of psoriasis you have. There are five main types of psoriasis:
- Plaque psoriasis, the most common form, causes patches of the psoriasis rash (called plaques) on different areas of the body
- Inverse psoriasis causes rashes and irritation within folds of the skin or in high-friction areas like the underarms or groin
- Guttate psoriasis is typically triggered by an illness like an upper respiratory infection or strep infection, and it causes small red spots on the skin
- Pustular psoriasis, a rare form of psoriasis, causes patchy red rashes that are surrounded by white blisters
- Erythrodermic psoriasis, the rarest form of psoriasis, causes widespread skin inflammation and rashes throughout the body
The only way to know whether you have psoriasis and to determine what type of psoriasis you have is to visit an experienced medical professional specializing in dermatology. Our board-certified dermatologists and physician assistants at Dermatology Associates of Atlanta are highly qualified to diagnose and treat psoriasis. We are proud to have a state-of-the-art psoriasis center with many options available for treating psoriasis.
What Causes Psoriasis?
While researchers haven’t yet determined exactly what causes psoriasis, it appears to be a combination of genetics and environmental triggers. We know that it runs in families and that certain genes have been found to increase the risk of developing psoriasis, but there are many people who have these genes and don’t get psoriasis (and people who get psoriasis without having these genes). This is why it is so important to visit a healthcare provider who is experienced in psoriasis to get a proper diagnosis and treatment plan.
There are also triggers that can cause psoriasis symptoms to appear for the first time and can spark flare-ups of psoriasis symptoms. These triggers will vary from person to person, but common psoriasis triggers include stress, infections, skin injuries, select medications, tobacco use, certain types of weather especially dry and cold weather, and heavy alcohol use.
What Are the Treatments for Psoriasis?
Fortunately, there are a variety of treatments available for psoriasis. Where there is no medication or procedure to cure psoriasis, there are several ways we can manage and minimize the symptoms.
The treatment plan will vary based on the type of psoriasis a person has, their specific medical circumstances, the severity and location of the symptoms, and more. Treatments can include topical medications including prescription topical medications as well as systemic medications. Some patients, especially those with severe psoriasis, may be candidates for a unique treatment called photodynamic therapy. During this procedure, our dermatology specialists use a combination of a topical product and precise ultraviolet light to slow your skin cell reproduction.
Getting Expert Psoriasis Care at Dermatology Associates of Atlanta
Our providers at Dermatology Associates of Atlanta have extensive experience in treating psoriasis, with some providers participating in cutting-edge research into psoriasis as well. If you have been diagnosed with psoriasis or believe you may have psoriasis, schedule an appointment at Dermatology Associates of Atlanta to get the specialized care you need. Follow us on Facebook and Instagram for more skin health tips.