Psoriasis is a common skin disorder characterized by inflamed, red, thickened skin lesions with a characteristic silver scale. Commonly involved areas include the scalp, elbows, knees and lower back. Psoriasis can be mild or severe but almost always responds to one of several forms of treatment
The exact cause of psoriasis is unknown but it is widely believed to be related to a dysregulation of the immune system. White blood cells appear to trigger an inflammatory process in the skin which speeds up the rate of normal skin shedding and produces the characteristic lesions of psoriasis.
Psoriasis has many possible triggers including trauma, infections, genetics, emotional stress, and medications and exists in many different forms. Patients often have involvement of the nails and may suffer from an associated arthritis.
Psoriasis in generally diagnosed by a clinician's physical examination, but sometimes a biopsy of involved skin is required to confirm the diagnosis. Once diagnosed there are numerous therapies available, depending on the particular type of psoriasis one suffers from.
Current therapies include:
- Topical corticosteroids
- Scalp treatments (e.g., Dovonex, Dermasmoothe)
- Anthralin (e.g., Micanol)
- Vitamin D analogs (e.g., Dovonex)
- Coal tar
- Phototherapy (e.g., UVB, PUVA)
- Methotrexate (e.g., Trexall)
- Retinoids (e.g., Soriatane, Tazorac)
- Cyclosporin (e.g., Neoral)
- Infusion for Infliximab or Remicade
Another key aspect of psoriasis therapy is patient education. Treatment regimens can be complex and time-consuming and require significant participation on the part of the patient. The Department of Dermatology at UConn has a professional nursing staff that is dedicated to providing patients with up-to-date information on therapeutic regimens. Extensive support options are available to aid in the management of this chronic disease.
If you suffer from psoriasis and are interested in a professional consultation and customized therapeutic regimen, please contact us for an appointment.