Psoriasis is an autoimmune disorder that mainly attacks the skin. Under normal conditions, skin cells have a life cycle of about a month. During that time, they migrate up to the epidermis and are shed. In psoriasis, skin cell production is accelerated so that new skin cells reach the epidermis in three or four days. The body can’t get rid of them that quickly, so they pile up and produce the patches of itchy skin that are characteristic of the condition.
Psoriasis ranges in severity, depending on the percentage of skin affected. In a mild case, less than three percent of the patient’s skin is affected. A moderate case is one affecting three to ten percent of the skin, while anything over ten percent is considered severe.
How is Psoriasis Diagnosed?
In most cases, the medical professional will be able to make a diagnosis based on the patient’s medical history and an examination of their skin. Psoriasis, however, can look like other skin diseases such as eczema. In such cases, we will collect a sample of the patient’s skin and examine it under a microscope. Examining a skin sample will also help us determine what kind of psoriasis the patient has. If the patient has symptoms of psoriatic arthritis, like swollen joints, we may order blood tests to rule out other types of arthritis.
How is Psoriasis Treated?
So far, there is no cure for the disorder, but there are treatments that can provide relief from the symptoms. Certain treatments are designed to relieve itching, reduce inflammation and slow down the production of skin cells. Other treatments seek to improve the immune system.
It is important to keep in mind that treatment for psoriasis is not one-size-fits-all. The right treatment for you may be vastly different than the right treatment for someone else with similar symptoms.
During your initial consultation at Dr. Yeoman’s Dermatology Office, our specialist can review your particular case and come up with a customized treatment plan for you. Just because you have psoriasis does not mean that you can’t live a normal life. Take the first step to improve your situation by scheduling an appointment at our office in Poplar Bluff or Paragould. Contact us today to book a consultation and get started.