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6 Psoriasis Topics to Discuss With Your Healthcare Provider

Here’s what your healthcare provider needs to know to provide you the best care possible for psoriasis.

Medically reviewed in August 2021

Psoriasis is a chronic inflammatory skin condition that affects an estimated 125 million people worldwide. While there is no cure for psoriasis, there are numerous treatments available that can help patients manage and control symptoms.

Treatment for psoriasis begins by working with a healthcare provider—typically a dermatologist, a healthcare provider who specializes in the treatment of disorders that affect the skin. However, it is also important to work with a primary care physician to manage overall health. Additionally, patients with psoriatic arthritis will need to work with a rheumatologist. Some may also work with providers who specialize in mental health, to manage and cope with issues like stress, anxiety, and depression, which are common among people with psoriasis.

Here are six important topics about psoriasis that you need to discuss with your healthcare provider:

How psoriasis impacts your quality of life
Psoriasis can have a significant impact on a person’s quality of life, and this impact is considered when assessing the severity of psoriasis. If having psoriasis is negatively affecting your mood, mental health, relationships, work, education, or ability to enjoy life, your healthcare provider needs to know. If you are experiencing depression or anxiety, you may be referred to a provider who specializes in mental health.

How your treatment is working for you
Are you struggling to adhere to your treatment schedule? Dissatisfied with the results you are seeing with your current approach to therapy? Experiencing or concerned about side effects? Talk to your healthcare provider about these topics. Psoriasis treatment varies from person to person, and your healthcare provider is there to help you find a treatment that works for you.

All of your psoriasis symptoms
Psoriasis can appear anywhere on the body. The elbows, knees, and scalp are the most common areas affected, but psoriasis can also cause skin symptoms in places that are very sensitive—and uncomfortable to talk about—such as the genitals and areas around the genitals. While a significant number of psoriasis patients are believed to experience these symptoms, these symptoms are also believed to be underreported by patients. While it may feel embarrassing, the only way to get help is to talk to your healthcare provider about all of your symptoms.

How your joints feel
An estimated 30 percent of psoriasis patients will also develop psoriatic arthritis, a type of arthritis related to the abnormal immune activity that causes the skin symptoms of psoriasis. With psoriatic arthritis, the immune system attacks healthy tissue in the joints. Over time, this can cause permanent joint damage and disability. Psoriatic arthritis can affect any joint in the body—the small joints of the hands and feet, the knees and elbows, the hips, even the spinal column. If you are experiencing stiffness, swelling, tenderness, or pain in a joint or joints, talk to your healthcare provider about these symptoms. You may be referred to a rheumatologist, a provider who specializes in the treatment of diseases that affect the joints.

Your unhealthy habits
Habits can make a difference when managing psoriasis. People with psoriasis are advised to quit or avoid smoking, and to only consume alcohol in very moderate quantities. Cigarette smoking and excessive alcohol consumption are known to make symptoms worse—and because these habits can impact treatment, your healthcare provider needs to know about them. Your healthcare provider can advise you on methods for quitting smoking (if you smoke), as well as lifestyle changes that may help improve psoriasis symptoms, such as diet and exercise.

Your blood work
While psoriasis can feel all-consuming at times, it is important to remember that it is only one aspect of your health. You must look after your overall health as well, and it is important to monitor indicators like cholesterol levels, blood sugar, and blood pressure. Though the exact reasons are unknown, psoriasis patients are at an increased risk of several chronic health conditions, including heart disease and type 2 diabetes. In addition to working with your dermatologist or rheumatologist, it is important to keep regular appointments with your primary care physician.

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