Psoriasis is not just a flaky skin disease

August 9, 2021

By: Geoffrey Potts, M.D., Wayne Health Department of Dermatology

Psoriasis is an inflammatory disease affecting 3% of the US population with genetic risk. It affects adults and children involving the skin, nails, joints, heart, brain, and other organs. A dermatologist (skin, hair, and nail specialist of adults and children), rheumatologist (joint specialist), and primary care specialist (family medicine or internal medicine) can create an effective team to treat the whole patient.

The skin often has thick pink plaques with silvery scale of the scalp, elbows, and knees though hands, feet, skin folds or genitals can also be involved. Nails often have small pits, thickness, or nail bed separation. Joint involvement often starts with morning stiffness of fingers or other joints.

Other side effects:

  • Cardiovascular disease including stroke and heart attack, often leading to premature death.
  • Patients with psoriasis often have fatty liver disease, high cholesterol, and have an increased risk of alcohol or tobacco abuse. Smoking cessation and diet are an important part of treatment.
  • Mental illness, including anxiety and depressive disorders.

Psoriasis medications are rapidly improving, giving more tools to manage this chronic disease. What was previously a disfiguring joint and skin disease can now be successfully managed. We now have many effective treatments including topical or injectable corticosteroids, vitamin D analogues, topical retinoids, oral therapies, safe light therapy and biologics. Our biologics offer 100% clearance of the skin and improvement in joint inflammation which was not easily attainable in the past. A board-certified dermatologist can provide all of the above and more in your care.

Even the mildest psoriasis can have unseen effects on the body, and should be treated. Board certified dermatologists in conjunction with primary care and rheumatologists can provide care to patients with psoriasis. Creams alone are often not enough to treat the inflammation.

Wayne Health has one of the few academic centers with a dermatology-rheumatology combined clinic with myself and Dr. Housam Sarakbi providing multidisciplinary care for patients with joint and skin involvement of psoriasis. We also provide consultation services inpatient at the Detroit Medical Center hospitals for acutely ill, widespread psoriasis. My team clears not just the skin but also looks into depression, joints, substance abuse and heart disease that often affect patients with psoriasis. They also offer topical or oral medications, injection therapies, and in clinic or home light treatments to offer care for every patient.

Schedule an appointment with a Wayne Health Dermatology provider today on our website or by calling 877-929-6342.

Psoriasis is not just a flaky skin disease
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