4 Things the Doctors are Doing Wrong for People Living with Psoriasis

I've had psoriasis for over two decades and I have found there is a lot of work which needs to be done within the health community to better treat patients.

Let's go through the challenges

I also attend medical conferences with doctors and researchers who are honestly clueless of the patient experience which involves more than a prescription. I'd like to share four challenges I have seen within the medical community when it comes to the care of patients.

Applying a bandaid

What is band-aiding the symptoms versus treating it? To me a band-aid is a temporary fix which targets the appearance of the disease but neglects to solve the internal problem which is an over-reactive immune system, the culprit for psoriasis.

It also bothers me when I hear people living with psoriatic disease say the doctor just gives them pain pills to manage.

Pain pills are a band-aid to a bigger problem which is inflammation. Pills will help minimize the pain for a short while but it doesn't stop the progression of the disease.

Spend time with the patient

Most times when I visit the doctor I'm in the waiting room longer than the conversation I have with the doctor. The shortest appointment I've ever sat with a doctor was literally 60 seconds.

I went to the emergency room due to numbness and arm pain. I waited for 6 hours. The doctor walked in, asked me where the pain was, had me lift my arms up and down, she left, came back with discharge papers and asked me if I wanted some pills to manage the pain. I was furious.

She advised I should have gone to primary care first (which I had done!), primary care advised due to my symptoms I needed to go to the ER, thus they would not see me. My psoriasis appointments haven't been that bad but the appointments are typically less than 15 mins and don't really assess my needs, I also sometimes feel rushed.

Not enough testing

A lot of people I've met admit when they first showed signs of psoriasis they assumed it was something else like a rash or eczema. Some have shared even the doctor misdiagnosed them with similar diseases.

I've experienced the disappointment of a doctor appointment that simply ended with a prescription for cream  I couldn't pronounce. Doctors typically survey the skin and make an assessment based on the physical features of the disease.

A biopsy can be given to a patient which requires a small removal of skin to reviewed under a microscope. There is also a blood test which can be done to review proteins levels to determine if someone has arthritis.

Think about the quality of life

I've had at least 10 doctors throughout my life and not a single one has ever asked me if psoriasis affected my mental and emotional health, when in reality sometimes the anxiety, panic attacks, cry spells, and low self-esteem were the worse parts of living with the disease.

Psoriasis negatively impacted my quality of life. I avoided certain social gatherings, I combated depression, and I isolated.

A dermatologist's job is not therapy, however, I feel as though physicians should assess the mental state of patients and then refer them to helpful resources.

Have you experienced any of the items listed? What advice can you give to others to overcome these challengings?

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