Psoriasis is a treatable skin condition that occurs frequently. It affects around 2% of the population, both children and adults. It’s a condition that can run in families and more recently is believed to be immune and environmental related.
At Q Dermatology we are experts in managing psoriasis. It most commonly affects elbows and knees, although most parts of the body including the scalp and the nails can be affected. It is important to note that psoriasis can affect your joints (psoriatic arthritis). If this is occurring a rheumatologist (doctor specialising in medical bone and joint conditions) should be involved. We find the majority of patients respond very well with the right treatment.
Treatment varies depending on the type of psoriasis you have, and depending on the areas of your skin that are involved. Our dermatologists will consider therapies including creams, phototherapy, tablets and injectable medications, and discuss them with you. We fully understand that psoriasis can have a big impact on our patients’ lives and we take great pleasure in seeing our patients improve. Patients deemed to have severe psoriasis with a psoriasis assessment severity index (PASI) score above 15 are eligible for new injectable medications accessible on the PBS. Medicare requires that conventional treatments have been trialed first, though, and have strict criteria in place to access these expensive treatments with subsidy.
We’re often asked about diet and lifestyle, and their effect on the skin. Currently there are no clear clinical trials showing that restricting any particular food or food group is beneficial. It has been observed that excess alcohol consumption can make the condition worsen. It’s also quite common to see psoriasis flare up when people feel under stress or are sick. Excess weight can also exacerbate psoriasis. New research suggests that people with poorly controlled psoriasis are more likely to have cardiovascular disease due to increased weight, high blood pressure, diabetes and high cholesterol, so it is important to have all these conditions checked by your GP. Health weight management improves these conditions, as well as often improving your psoriasis.
Take care to avoid websites offering to cure psoriasis. It is an ailment that can fluctuate over a lifetime, and though it responds very well to treatment there is currently no known cure. Treatment aims at control, not cure, so promises of cure should induce caution.