Plaque psoriasis consists of raised red lesions that are covered with whitish silvery scales. Although psoriasis can affect any area on the body, it typically affects the elbows, knees, scalp, umbilicus and gluteal cleft. Psoriasis is now viewed as a systemic disease affecting more than just the skin. It also can affect the joints (psoriatic arthritis) and cardiovascular system (which can increase the risk of heart attacks).
What Causes Psoriasis?
Scientific research now indicates psoriasis may be an autoimmune disorder that causes the immune system to overreact and rapidly accelerate the production of skin cells. Instead of skin cells growing at a normal pace and being replaced every month, these cells may mature more quickly (in as little as 3 days) and build up on the surface of the skin. There are certain genes associated with psoriasis and oftentimes patients have another family member with psoriasis or psoriatic arthritis. Injuries to the skin, infections, certain medications and stress may lead to an outbreak or worsening of psoriasis.
How is Psoriasis Treated?
A careful skin examination will be performed by one of our expertly trained providers. The type and severity of the psoriasis along with a patient’s clinical history will determine treatment options. Treatment options may include topical creams or ointments, and in moderate to moderately severe cases our dermatologists will prescribe systemic medications including oral agents (methotrexate, acitretin) and/or injectable biologic agents (such as Enbrel, Humira, Stelara or Remicade).
Since no one treatment is best for everyone, utilizing the treatment option that provides a patient with the most relief with the fewest side effects is our goal.