The Newest Treatments for Psoriasis and Psoriatic Arthritis
Psoriasis is one of the most common skin conditions that exist. While it affects millions of people worldwide, there is currently no cure. The newest treatments for psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis can help you manage the pain and discomfort. There are different types of psoriasis, which can affect different parts of the body. The severity of your psoriasis can be judged based on the percentage of your body which is affected. No matter how severe your case, there are psoriasis treatment guidelines.
What is Psoriasis
If you constantly have dry and flaky skin, you might have wondered what is psoriasis? Psoriasis is a common skin condition that affects the growth rate of skin cells. Areas of the body afflicted with psoriasis regenerate at a rate of up to 10 times the normal rate. Since previous cells have yet to die the extra skin cells form an uneven skin surface. The area affected will usually be red, itchy, and may have a scaly appearance.
At present, the exact nature of why psoriasis occurs is unknown and no cure exists. There are measures you can take to improve your quality of life. While psoriasis is a chronic disease, it does not affect you for 100% of the time. You will have better periods and worse periods which usually come with flare-ups. The newest treatments for psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis can help reduce flare ups and can help mitigate the symptoms.
Psoriatic Arthritis is a type of arthritis which can affect people with psoriasis. Psoriatic arthritis is characterized by joint pain, stiffness, and swelling. While psoriatic arthritis can affect the entire body, it is commonly found in the hands, feet, and spine. If you have psoriasis and experience joint pain, it is imperative that you get checked for psoriatic arthritis.
There is no cure for psoriatic arthritis, but there are a number of treatment solutions. If left untreated, the disease can cause severe damage to the joints and ligaments.
Types of Psoriasis
The most common form of psoriasis, Plaque Psoriasis affects 6.7 million people in the United States alone. In plaque psoriasis, the affected area will appear have raised red patches with a mottled grey buildup of dead cells. The patches can affect any area around the body and can result in itchy and painful cracking and bleeding of the skin.
Guttate Psoriasis is a form of psoriasis in which small round and red lesions appear on the skin. It is the second most common form of the disease, affecting 10% of all psoriasis patients. While the lesions have a scaly and red appearance, guttate does not usually leave scars. Outbreaks are usually triggered by bacterial infections, commonly Streptococcus.
Inverse Psoriasis is a form of psoriasis which affects the body’s folds. Areas such as the back of the knee and under the arm are affected with large red lesions. The areas affected may look smooth and shiny, but can cause massive discomfort. Since the folds are affected, inverse psoriasis can cause a lot of pain in everyday tasks. 2-6% of all psoriasis patients are affected by inverse psoriasis.
Pustular psoriasis can be identified by white pustules surrounded by red inflamed skin. The pustules consist of dead white blood cells. The pustules are not contagious but should not be popped. This type of psoriasis commonly affects the hands and feet.
A severe form of psoriasis, Erythrodermic Psoriasis results in a widespread painful redness over large portions of the body. Erythrodermic Psoriasis causes severe itching and pain, and in secrete cases can even make the skin peel off in sheets. Erythrodermic Psoriasis is very uncommon, it affects just 3% of those affected with psoriasis throughout their lifetimes. Erythrodermic Psoriasis can be life threatening, see a doctor immediately.
Locations of Psoriasis
More than half of psoriasis patients have psoriasis on their scalps. In mind cases, you will experience slight, fine scaling. In more severe cases, crusted plaques can end up covering the entire scalp, from the hairline to the back of the neck.
Psoriasis on the face usually develops around the eyebrows and on the skin between the nose and upper lip. The forehead and the beginning of the hairline can also be affected. As the skin on the face is very sensitive, you must be especially careful with treatment.
Hands, Feet, and Nails
The hands and feet can experience flare ups with cracking, blistering, and swelling. You will need to be especially vigilant of your nails. Up to 50% of patients with psoriasis experience pitting, discoloration, and deformation of the nails.
Genital psoriasis is most commonly in the form of inverse psoriasis. The regions which are likely to be affected are the pubis, upper thighs, the creases between thigh and groin, and the genitals. Especially careful treatment will be required when dealing with these sensitive areas.
Areas in which skin folds occur are also prone to psoriasis. These regions include the armpits and under the breasts. Profuse sweating and chafing can greatly increase the discomfort.
Severity of Psoriasis
The severity of your psoriasis can be determined by calculating the surface area of your body affected. The surface area of your hand equals roughly 1 percent of your total surface area. If the surface area affected is about three of your hands, 3 percent of your body is affected.
Psoriasis which covers less than 3 percent of the body is considered as mild psoriasis.
Psoriasis which covers between 3 and 10 percent of the body is considered as moderate psoriasis.
Psoriasis which covers over 10 percent of the body is considered as severe.
Treatment of Psoriasis
The newest treatments for psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis will includes oral treatments, biologics, and topical treatments.
Apremilast, which goes by the brand name Otezla, is an FDA approved oral drug for plaque psoriasis. The drug blocks the immune response which causes inflammation of the skin. This can relieve joint pain and swelling which can be especially useful for people with psoriatic arthritis. Otezla is the drug of choice for many, as it can reduce the redness and scaling which are associated with the condition.
Doctors may choose to prescribe you with biologic drugs, depending on the status of your immune system. These drugs are protein-based and are made from living cells. These drugs block some of the functions of the immune system, thereby reducing swelling. Over the last ten years, the following drugs have been developed and have been shown to be useful in combating psoriasis - adalimumab, etanercept, ixekizumab, infliximab, ustekinumab, and secukinumab.
There are a wide variety of topical ointments which can be applied to areas affected by psoriasis. Ointments containing aloe vera, jojoba, capsaicin, and zinc have been shown to be especially useful in reliving itching and scaling. Doctors can also prescribe a number of topical treatments with steroids, to combat especially persistent areas.