Living with psoriasis: Find the right treatment

Living with psoriasis can often lead to low self-confidence. Although it’s not contagious, this chronic disease can affect your daily life. Dr. Harry Dao, assistant professor of dermatology at Baylor College of Medicine, says that living with psoriasis doesn’t have to be difficult if treated properly.

Dr. Harry Dao

Dr. Harry Dao

What is psoriasis?

Psoriasis is a skin condition that develops causing red, and often times itchy, papules and plaques on the body.

This chronic condition affects two percent of the U.S. population, and is not gender specific.

“There are two peaks in which an individual may begin to experience signs and symptoms of psoriasis, between the ages of 20 and 30 and between the ages of 50 and 60,” said Dao.

The chances of developing psoriasis vary based on a combination of genetic and environmental factors. For example, Dao says that if both parents are affected, there is a 41 percent chance that the child will develop psoriasis, but if only one parent is affected the chance drops to 14 percent.

“Having psoriasis does not mean you did anything wrong at all. It can happen to anyone at any time,” he said.

Symptoms and treatment options

Signs of psoriasis can include red scaly well-defined rashes on the skin that are often times elevated.

“Psoriasis can affect almost every body part. In the folded areas of the skin such as the armpits or groin, psoriasis may just be red patches in the skin without scaling, due to chronic friction that gets ride of scale,” he said.

Treatment options are broad and include topical medications, phototherapy, oral systemic medications and biologic medications.

If you suffer from psoriasis, Dao says it’s important to find a dermatologist to help with treatment.

“There are no great home remedies that reliably help,” he said. “There are patient assistance programs available for various treatment options that can offer great treatments at reduced prices. Pursuing the best options with your dermatologist is the best thing to do. As things improve, you may get some self-confidence back. In a way, having psoriasis can make you an ambassador for the disease, helping to educate the community about the condition and make it easier on other people who are suffering from it.”

Additional Resources

To visit with a Baylor dermatologist, schedule an appointment online or call (713) 798-6131.

Psoriasis: More than skin deep

 -By Jeannette Jimenez

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