Early Psoriasis Treatment
Psoriasis has always been around, but came into the spotlight when Kim Kardashian-West revealed she was suffering from it and it was worsening. Here two specialist dermatologists detail the disease and the link to other health issues.
What You Need to Know
What you don’t know can indeed hurt you as Dr. Hala Al Jaber, Specialist Dermatologist explains that globally, and in the UAE specifically, there is a limited understanding amongst patients of the presentation, cause, and treatment options for psoriasis. “A lack of knowledge can lead to delayed diagnosis and lead to worsened co-morbidities,” she says. Psoriasis is a complex autoimmune inflammatory disease that can last a lifetime; the signs and symptoms of psoriasis vary depending on the patient and any co-morbidities present. It can present in many different ways—it usually appears on the skin as non-contagious chronic red patches covered by white scales over affected areas such as the elbows and knees.
Experts’ stress the importance of early diagnosis in order to decrease the risk of complications associated with psoriasis such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and cancer. And because it is a complex life-long, autoimmune inflammatory disease that is thought to occur when environmental triggers interact with a patient’s immune system, it is also a systemic disease, meaning patients’ diagnosed with psoriasis are at a higher risk of developing other serious medical conditions. Psoriasis can lead to an increased prevalence of psoriatic arthritis, cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, Celiac disease, and inflammatory bowel disease. Being diagnosed with chronic conditions such as psoriasis can also lead to depression and low self-esteem.
The nature of these comorbidities mean the most effective treatment is improving the patient’s lifestyle and overall health. Although many treatment options exist, there is no cure for this condition as there is a genetic component to the disease, points out Dr. Rahul Chaudhary, Specialist Dermatologist, adding, “However, certain risk factors are preventable; patients should manage their weight and stress levels and also avoid smoking. These lifestyle changes can reduce the severity of psoriasis flares.” The treatment involves assessing the severity of the patient’s condition. A combination therapy of topicals, phototherapy, and oral medication has traditionally worked best, but lately biologic treatment targeting the patient’s immune system have been gaining momentum and seeing results faster. When it comes to treating psoriasis, Dr. Al Jaber tells that there are many therapies that provide a standard level of care, but it does not mean that all patients’ will respond well to any treatment. There are many factors and co-morbidities to be considered when trying to find the right treatment option for a patient.