As of March 20, 2020 we are no longer seeing patients in our office due to COVID-19. We are happy to continue caring for you during these uncertain times. We are now offering remote appointments for new and established patients although we will no longer be able to see you in person. For some patients, an in person visit is best, but if you feel that your concern could be addressed online, this may be a convenient option for you.
If you are suffering from psoriasis in Boston, consider a visit to The Dermatology Institute of Boston. Although there is no cure for psoriasis, there are many treatment options to reduce the psoriasis and make it more manageable.
What Are the Signs and Symptoms of Psoriasis?
Psoriasis is a condition that may affect the skin, nails and/or joints. When psoriasis affects the skin, there is an increased rate of cell growth and cell turnover. Psoriasis appears as patches of skin that are red, thick, dry, cracked, and scaly. These patches may even bleed at times. They may feel sore or itchy.
These lesions typically appear in areas like the elbows, knees, scalp, lower back, soles of the feet, palms, and legs. The areas of affected skin may be small patches or large areas.
In some patients, nail abnormalities are a sign of psoriasis. The fingernails or toenails may be ridged, thicker than normal, or pitted. Some patients may also experience stiffness or swelling in the joints.
Most patients with psoriasis will notice that their psoriasis waxes and wanes over time. Psoriasis is unpredictable and there may be times when it is bad, and times when it is minimal. Some patients with psoriasis are improved during the summer months as sunlight often improves psoriasis.
Psoriasis can increase the likelihood of experiencing a number of other issues. These include high blood pressure, eye conditions (uveitis, conjunctivitis, blepharitis), autoimmune conditions (Crohn’s disease, sclerosis, celiac disease), psoriatic arthritis, type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and obesity.
In addition, the appearance of psoriasis can make a person feel self-conscious or embarrassed in social or intimate situations, which can lead to anxiety and depression.
There is no clear cause of psoriasis, and it is not a contagious condition. A third of all psoriasis cases affect much younger patients, but the condition can manifest at any age. There are many risk factors, including smoking, a family history of psoriasis, and stress.
Psoriasis can be triggered by numerous factors. Stress can commonly result in flare-ups, as can smoking, secondhand smoke, and alcohol consumption. Weather extremes can be triggers, including extreme cold, prolonged sun exposure, and dryness.
Medications like lithium, high blood pressure medications, and antimalarial medications may also cause psoriasis to flare. Skin damage, sunburns, bug bites, and infections may also worsen psoriasis.
If you have psoriasis, it is important to remember these triggers and avoid them whenever possible.
Many types of psoriasis exist:
Plaque Psoriasis – This common type of psoriasis manifests in raised patches that are red, dry, and scaly. Called plaques, these patches typically form on the lower back, elbows, scalp, or knees.
Pustular Psoriasis – Pustular psoriasis manifests as pus-filled lesions. It often appears on the palms or the soles but can also appear in wider patches on other areas.
Nail Psoriasis – This type manifests in the form of pitted and discolored fingernails and toenails that grow in an abnormal fashion.
Guttate Psoriasis – Guttate psoriasis appears as small scaly patches on the legs, arms, or torso and may arise on the skin after a streptococcal throat infection.
Erythrodermic Psoriasis – This type is rare and appears on the entire body as a burning or itchy peeling rash.
Inverse Psoriasis – Inverse psoriasis appears as smooth red patches. It forms in skin folds in areas like the buttocks, groin, and under the breasts.
During your appointment, a board-certified dermatologist or nurse practitioner will perform a thorough examination of your scalp, nails, and skin. She will ask you a number of diagnostic questions regarding family medical history and many other factors relating to psoriasis. A biopsy may also be performed to help confirm the diagnosis of psoriasis.
There are a wide variety of treatment options for psoriasis. When deciding on the proper treatment, the severity of the condition must be considered, along with the type of psoriasis that is present and the areas where it is present. In some cases, a combination of treatments may be the most effective option.
Typically, mild cases of psoriasis are treated with topical creams and lotions. For patients with more severe psoriasis, systemic therapy such as pills or injections may be needed.
Topical therapies are available, including coal tar, corticosteroids, retinoids, salicylic caid, calcineurin inhibitors, and synthetic forms of vitamin D.
Oral and injection therapies may be used, including retinoids, steroids, cyclosporine, methotrexate, and biologic injectable medications such as Humira®, Stelara® and others.
The price of each patient’s psoriasis treatment varies depending on their chosen method of treatment and the details of their health insurance. Cost can be discussed at our office as part of your consultation.
Schedule your consultation regarding effective treatment for psoriasis in Boston. All of our providers are experienced in treating psoriasis. Dr. Freya Meyer is our in-house psoriasis expert with the most experience utilizing the latest psoriasis treatment modalities.
Our goal here at The Dermatology of Institute of Boston is protect the health of our patients and staff. To continue caring for our patients during these uncertain times, while strictly adhering to the guidelines set by the CDC, we will be only offering virtual consultations. For some patients, an in person visit is best, but if you feel that your concern could be addressed online, this may be a convenient option for you.