Living with Plaque PsoriasisSpecialty Infusion Blog
According to recent studies, more than 7.5 million Americans live with psoriasis, a chronic skin disorder that causes the body to make new skin cells too quickly.
There are several types of this disease. According to the American Academy of Dermatology, Plaque psoriasis is the most common form, affecting between 80%-90% of people with psoriasis.
While there is currently no cure for psoriasis, including plaque psoriasis, understanding the disorder is the first step to living a thriving, active life while controlling flare ups and symptoms.
What is Plaque Psoriasis?
Plaque psoriasis causes your immune system to overreact, leading to inflammation in the body and new skin cells growing too fast. As a result, raised, inflamed, and scaly patches appear on the skin.
Plaques can appear anywhere on the skin but are commonly found on the:
- Lower back
- Scalp (known as Scalp Psoriasis)
They also tend to emerge on both sides of your body. For example, if you have plaque psoriasis on your left knee, it will most likely appear on your right knee.
Types of plaque psoriasis
There are four main types of plaque psoriasis:
- Small plaque psoriasis causes many tiny lesions that may remain separate or merge together.
- Large plaque psoriasis refers to thicker, larger red plaques with a silvery scale.
- Unstable plaque psoriasis occurs when new or existing plaques expand rapidly.
- Chronic, stable plaque psoriasis are small to large lesions that stick around or reemerge after the first episode.
Symptoms of plaque psoriasis
Symptoms can vary from person to person. Besides raised patches on the skin, other common symptoms include:
- pain or stiffness in the joints
- dryness, flakiness, peeling of the skin
- itchiness, discomfort, and pain where the patches are
Causes and triggers of Plaque Psoriasis
The exact cause of plaque psoriasis is still unknown. However, many experts agree that the immune system, environmental factors, and genetics contribute to this disease.
Plaque psoriasis outbreaks can occur due to:
- certain prescription medications
- skin injury – sunburn, cuts, and scratches
Comorbidities associated with plaque psoriasis
Comorbidities are one or more additional medical conditions in a person who already has a chronic illness.
Common comorbidities connected to plaque psoriasis are:
- Plaque Arthritis
- Cardiovascular disease
- Crohn’s disease /Inflammatory bowel disease
- Metabolic Syndrome
Treatment options for plaque psoriasis
Unfortunately, plaque psoriasis is a lifelong condition. However, there are ways to control flare ups and reduce painful, debilitating symptoms.
Managing your plaque psoriasis depends on a few things such as how much skin is affected, how bad the disease is, and the location. Your dermatologist or family physician will be able to help develop a treatment plan that works best for you.
Always consult with your dermatologist or family doctor before trying these treatments.
Skincare for plaque psoriasis
What you put on your skin plays a significant role in getting your plaque psoriasis under control while relieving symptoms. Look for hypoallergenic, alcohol-free, dye-free, and fragrance-free products when it comes to plaque psoriasis moisturizers and soaps.
Some skincare products to consider for your plaque psoriasis are:
- shea butter or petroleum jelly
- coconut and avocado oil
- capsaicin cream
- aloe vera
- medicated shampoo or a product containing salicylic acid or coal tar should be used for scalp psoriasis.
Plaque psoriasis skin care tip: Look for the National Psoriasis Foundation’s Seal of Recognition on psoriasis safe products!
While there’s no set diet for people living with plaque psoriasis, sticking to healthy, nutritious foods is important to decrease inflammation in your body and reduce flare ups.
When looking at your diet, stay away from foods that cause inflammation, like alcohol, dairy, refined carbs, gluten, added sugar, saturated fats, and trans fats. Replace with foods that are rich in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, like:
- omega-3 fatty acids – salmon, shellfish, walnuts, and soybeans
- fruits and vegetables – leafy greens, berries, and pineapple
- healthy fats – avocado, olives, olive oil, and coconut oil
- high-quality protein – beans, lentils, nuts, cage-free eggs, tuna
Topical prescription medications
If over-the-counter creams aren’t working, your dermatologist may recommend a prescription medication that goes directly on your skin to help with inflammation and delay skin cell growth.
These prescription topicals include:
Phototherapy (light therapy)
Phototherapy, or light therapy, exposes the affected area of your skin to ultraviolet light. There are a few different types of phototherapy used to manage plaque psoriasis, such as:
- UVB phototherapy – available in your health care provider’s office and as a home UVB phototherapy option
- Excimer laser
- Heliotherapy– Short, daily exposures to natural sunlight
- Goeckerman therapy– Combines coal tar treatment with light therapy
- PUVA– Ultraviolet A (UVA) light with the medication, psoralen
Systemic treatments are prescription medications that work throughout the body for moderate to severe cases of plaque psoriasis. They are also used if you don’t respond well to phototherapy or topical creams.
There are two types of systemic treatment: non-biological (tablets or capsules) and biologic (injections or IV infusions).
Non-biological systemic medications include:
Common biologic systemic treatments include:
- adalimumab (Humira)
- certolizumab Pegol (Cimzia)
- infliximab (Renflexis, Remicade)
- ustekinumab (Stelara)
Understanding (and avoiding) triggers, sticking to a psoriasis-friendly skincare routine, creating a healthy lifestyle, and taking medications when needed, can help you manage your plaque psoriasis and improve your quality of life.
If you feel depressed or overwhelmed, there are resources available online and in your community to offer support and strategies for coping. Talk to your doctor or visit the below websites for more information.
Managing your plaque psoriasis requires an individualized treatment plan that includes medication, lifestyle changes, and mental health care. Specialty Infusion Centers collaborate with your specialist to provide infusion therapy based on your predetermined treatment plan.
Our centers offer private suites, amenities, and flexible evening and weekend appointments. All you have to focus on is feeling better! Reach us to learn more or get started today!