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Transforming the Standard of Care in Psoriasis

woman towel psoriasis
woman towel psoriasis
Dr Marni Wiseman

Dr. Marni Wiseman


With safe, effective options, patients with psoriasis can make clear, or almost clear, skin a realistic treatment goal.

There’s a misconception that psoriasis is “just” a skin disease. But the disorder is caused by a dysfunction of the immune system and can affect many areas of the body, as well as a person’s mental health and daily quality of life.

Skin cells usually grow, mature, and are shed over 28 to 30 days. With psoriasis, faulty signals in the body’s immune system trigger new skin cells to form in three to four days. Because the skin cells grow so fast, they don’t shed normally and pile up on the skin, causing red and scaly patches that can often be itchy, most commonly on the knees, elbows, and scalp. Psoriasis can also cause inflammation in other areas of the body, such as the joints or blood vessels. In about one third of cases, people develop psoriatic arthritis, which can lead to joint pain and stiffness and, if untreated, can cause deformity in the joints.

Dr. Marni Wiseman, a dermatologist at SKiNWISE DERMATOLOGY in Winnipeg, MB, says that psoriasis affects one to three percent of the population. It’s considered a chronic disease and can affect people at any age. There’s no cure for psoriasis, but treatment is available. Factors that may lead to psoriasis include a genetic history, as the disease runs in some families. Some medications have also been linked to psoriasis, while infections, such as strep throat, can precipitate psoriasis or cause a flare-up. Smoking is also a risk factor for the disease and can increase its severity.

Psoriasis is much more than skin deep. It can seriously affect how people feel about themselves.

Psoriasis affects physical and mental health, self-esteem, and relationships

“Psoriasis is much more than skin deep,” says Dr. Wiseman. “Psoriasis can seriously affect how people feel about themselves. It can affect psychosocial relationships, affect work attendance, and negatively impact self-esteem. Additionally, psoriasis can be associated with anxiety or depression.”

But Dr. Wiseman says that excellent treatments are available and that it’s important for people with psoriasis to have it treated early and optimally. She reassures anyone who has been delaying seeing their doctor due to concerns over COVID-19 safety that dermatologists follow strict protocols, and that it’s safe to make an appointment.

“It’s unnecessary for psoriasis patients to delay care and suffer in silence. It’s also important to find a dermatologist who will partner with you to aim for clear or almost clear skin, the new standard of care,” Dr. Wiseman says.

Treatment for psoriasis depends upon its severity. “Severity depends not only upon how much psoriasis a person has but also how significantly it impacts their quality of life, ” she adds.

Treatment goal is for psoriasis to have little impact on daily life

For someone with mild psoriasis, creams, gels, foams, or ointments can be very effective. “If somebody has extensive psoriasis that affects more of their body or impacts their life in a significant way, the dermatologist may recommend treatment with a biologic agent. These treatments are safe and very effective because they specifically target the immune system dysfunction that is specific to psoriasis,” Dr. Wiseman says.

With advancements in science and newer treatments, “the goal for most patients with moderate to severe psoriasis is for their disease to have little if any impact on their life,” Dr. Wiseman says. “I encourage people with psoriasis to talk to their dermatologist. I like psoriasis patients to set the treatment bar high. We have great treatments and patients should expect no less.”

This article was sponsored by an IMC Member Research-Based Pharmaceutical Company.

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