Let’s Get Serious About Psoriasis

Many are unaware that psoriasis is an autoimmune condition that doesn’t just impact the skin. While an overreactive immune system causes overproduction of skin cells causing skin lesions, there are other many other aspects to psoriasis that make it a serious condition to manage and treat. So let’s get serious about psoriasis, it can take a lot of serious effort to get an official diagnosis. There may be many serious conversations between patients and doctors, patients and insurance companies, patients and their care partners about ways to manage and treat psoriasis symptoms. It can also take a serious toll, not just on the patient physically, but emotionally.

Getting diagnosed with psoriasis

The journey to getting an accurate diagnosis of psoriasis can be difficult. Psoriasis can be misdiagnosed as other skin conditions such as eczema. While most shared that they started experiencing psoriasis-related symptoms before the age of 18, most didn’t get an official diagnosis of psoriasis before age 18.

While more than 25% started getting psoriasis symptoms before age 18, less than 25% were diagnosed before then.

Seeing multiple healthcare providers

Two-thirds had to see more than one healthcare provider to receive a psoriasis diagnosis with over 30% going to three or more healthcare providers before getting diagnosed.

More than 30% of patients saw 3 or more healthcare providers before getting diagnosed with psoriasis.

Different types of psoriasis

While 82% have plaque psoriasis there are many people that are diagnosed with more than just one type of psoriasis. More than 20% were diagnosed with 3 or more types of psoriasis. In addition to plaque psoriasis, the most common types of psoriasis were nail psoriasis, guttate psoriasis, and genital psoriasis.

More than 20% are diagnosed with 3 or more types of psoriasis. The most common types being plaque (82%), nail (32%), genital (14%), guttate (14%) and inverse (13%).

Managing psoriasis symptoms is not easy

Those diagnosed with psoriasis are regularly seeing a healthcare provider such as a Dermatologist or primary care physician/internist to treat their psoriasis or help manage their psoriasis symptoms, but only 14% feel that their psoriasis symptoms are currently controlled on their current treatment plan.

While 84% of patients regularly see a doctor, only 14% feel their psoriasis is under control.

Willing to try just about “anything” to improve psoriasis symptoms

People with psoriasis often will try lots of different tactics to improve their psoriasis symptoms. While there are prescription medications and treatments available many patients turn to things they can do themselves on a daily basis such as making lifestyle changes or they turn to alternative and complementary therapies or over-the-counter treatments to help with symptom management. Often these tactics are used in addition to prescription treatments or medications.

Patients try many tactics to improve psoriasis symptoms such as taking vitamins, avoiding alcohol and avoiding fragrances in lotions.

It’s not just physical: The emotional impact of psoriasis

While the physical symptoms of psoriasis can certainly be serious especially for those with moderate to severe psoriasis there are many aspects of the condition that impact your quality of life. Almost two-thirds worries about potential health conditions they might get in addition to psoriasis. Others expressed how psoriasis impacts relationships, social plans and work. Over half had fears about the long-term side effects of treatment and fears that their treatment would fail in the future.

61% experience physical discomfort or pain. 52% of patients fear their treatment will fail and 47% feel they can’t do everything they would like because of psoriasis.

Working with a healthcare provider

Having a partnership with a healthcare provider is important when it comes to managing psoriasis. Openly sharing concerns and asking questions are ways to make sure your HCP and you can work together to create an effective treatment plan. When it comes to patients’ relationships with their HCP only 69% felt strongly that they were comfortable discussing all aspects of psoriasis with their HCP. About half of respondents feel their HCP understands their questions and concerns, that their HCP provides easy-to-understand test results, and that their HCP clearly explains treatment options.

69% of patients feel comfortable discussing psoriasis with their doctor and 58% feel their doctor understands their concerns.

Factors that influence treatment decisions

When it comes to making decisions about psoriasis treatment(s), there are many considerations that patients factor in. Besides a healthcare provider’s recommendation other factors that played into a decision-making were whether or not insurance would cover the treatment or medication, the potential side effects of the medication or treatment, how effective the treatment would be in managing their psoriasis symptoms, the cost of the medication or treatment and the long-term safety of the treatment or medication.

When deciding on treatment the top 5 factors patients consider are insurance coverage, side effects, effectiveness, cost and long-term safety.

Is psoriasis remission a possibility?

Psoriasis can have periods of flares where symptoms worsen and periods of remission where symptoms improve. Unfortunately, almost ½ of patients have never experienced remission from their psoriasis. We asked our community to describe what remission from psoriasis skin symptoms and answers ranged from describing remission in emotional terms such as “blessing,” “miracle,” “happy.” Others defined remission in terms of a reduction or clearance in symptoms such as “no itching,” “no redness, or lesions,” “no fatigue or pain,” and “clear skin.” Some defined remission in terms of the lifestyle impact such as “style hair as I would like,” “function “normally.”

Patients define psoriasis remission in many ways. Some examples of definitions from patients were no more flakes, scales or plaques. Being pain free and just relief.

The Psoriasis in America 2019 survey was conducted online from January through March of 2019. 1,211 people completed the survey.

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