Academy Of Dermatology Releases New Guidelines for Patients with Psoriasis
Psoriasis is a chronic, inflammatory disease that affects approximate 2 percent of the population. While some may see it as simply a skin condition, it is actually a multisystem disease that can affect the joints as well as the cardiovascular system. The American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) has released its sixth and final guidelines for the care of psoriasis that includes a variety of medical therapies for management and treatment.
Patients and Doctors Should Work Together to Build Individualized Treatment Plans
The “Guidelines of Care for the Management of Psoriasis and Psoriatic Arthritis” are published online in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology. These guidelines address general recommendations for treatment of both adults and children, as well as the use of biologic, topical, systemic, and ultraviolet (UV) light therapies.
While adherence to the guidelines is not a guarantee of successful treatment, “these provide a very comprehensive assessment of the available therapies for psoriasis, while stressing the importance of tailoring treatments to meet individual patients’ needs and monitoring the patient for any other commonly associated medical problems,” says AAD president Ronald L. Moy MD FAAD.
Psoriasis usually develops before age 35 and is characterized by thick, red, scaly patches that itch and bleed. Both genetic and environmental factors contribute to the development of the disease which affects nearly 7 million Americans.
Psoriasis patients are at an increased risk for serious medical conditions such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes, obesity, and lymphoma. There is also a common related condition called psoriatic arthritis, which is characterized by stiffness, pain, swelling and tenderness in the joints and surrounding ligaments and tendons.
Especially for psoriatic arthritis, Dr. Moy says “It is important for psoriasis patients to seek treatment early and to discuss any warning signs of this potentially debilitating condition with their dermatologist. If left untreated, psoriatic arthritis can result in persistent inflammation, joint damage, severe physical limitations and even disability in some patients.”
The guidelines stress regular health screenings and continual monitoring of psoriasis patients by their dermatologists. Doctors should also recognize that complying with psoriasis topical medication remains a major issue for many patients, further emphasizing the point that treatments should be individualized.
Patients also play a key role in improving the outcome of their individual treatment plan. Patients should discuss concerns with their dermatologists and take steps to avoid common triggers such as stress, smoking, and consuming alcohol.