Psoriasis: Diagnosis and Treatment Options
Diagnosis of psoriasis usually comes after the doctor has conducted a physical exam. The practitioner can determine if a patient is suffering from the condition by simply taking a look at the patches on the skin. The doctor performs a skin biopsy to confirm plaque psoriasis.
Fortunately, there are home remedies available for treating this skin condition. Products like cortisone creams can help minimize itchiness involved in mild cases. They can be obtained even without prescription from the doctor. Ultraviolet B has been used with the supervision of the doctor.
Since psoriasis is a chronic condition, long term treatment should be considered. Treatment approaches are personalized based on the gender, age, occupation, personal motivation, other health issues, and available resources. The degree of severity is determined not only by the amount and extent of plaques but also by the perception and acceptance of the disease by the patient. It should cater to the specific expectations of the patient instead of targeting its extent on the body surface area involved.
There is a wide range of treatment options available, but the creation of an effective therapeutic regimen is not really that complex. There are three kinds of treatment approaches; they can be used independently or in combination.
Topical approaches are directly applied to the skin. They are usually the first treatment method recommended. The principal topical approaches include corticosteroids, derivatives of vitamin D-3, coal tar, anthralin, or retinoids. There is no specific topical treatment that works best for psoriasis. Each drug can have detrimental effects, so it is recommended that you use them alternately.
In certain cases, combining a topical cream with another is more beneficial than using only one. Usually some preparations have keratolytics. There are some drugs that do not work well with the active ingredients of these preparations. Salicylic acid, for instance, disables calcipotriene while anthralin needs salicylic acid to function efficiently.
Phototherapy involves the use of the ultraviolet rays of the sun which can slow down the production of skin cells and minimizes inflammation. Exposure to sunlight can help decrease the appearance of psoriasis symptoms in some people. If the extent of the condition is widespread, and there are more patches in the skin, artificial light therapy will be utilized.
The use of phototherapy is also recommended when the patient has shown resistance to topical treatment. A treatment center needs to have the appropriate equipments in order to use the two main approaches of light therapy. The light required in phototherapy, usually found in most tanning salons, is not similar to the source of light found in the doctor's office.
A systemic agent is an approach that involves the administration of drugs within the body. This is only resorted to when attempts to use topical treatments and phototherapy have been proven futile. For patients suffering from pustular psoriasis, the use of retinoids may be necessary from the onset of treatments. After administration of retinoids, psoralen and ultraviolet A treatment follows. For mild and chronic varieties of pustular psoriasis, the first two approaches are tried out first. However, in the case of active psoriatric arthritis, the use of systemic agents is usually recommended. Likewise, people suffering from conditions as a result of psychological, social, or economic reasons are treated using systemic approach.
People diagnosed with psoriasis should not worry too much as there are various treatments available at their disposal. However, they need to consult their practitioner first.
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