15 Need-to-Know Terms When Living with Psoriasis
Last updated: January 2022
Psoriasis is a disease that affects 125 million people worldwide. It can be a very difficult disease to live with, physically and emotionally.
A look at some helpful terminology
If you suffer from the disease, are newly diagnosed, or are taking care of someone who is managing this chronic condition, here are 15 terms you should know.
Autoimmune disease: An autoimmune disease occurs when a part of the body attacks itself or becomes overactive. Every single part of the body is susceptible to autoimmune complications.
In the case of psoriasis, the part of the body which is being attacked is the skin. The National Psoriasis Foundation describes the disease in the following way:
“The skin cells in people with psoriasis grow at an abnormally fast rate, which causes the buildup of psoriasis lesions…” which causes red, purple, or brown inflamed patches of dry skin to appear on the body.
Biologics: Psoriasis is basically caused by an overactive immune system, which in turn creates skin cells the body doesn’t need, but the body can’t get rid of the cells fast enough.
Therefore dead skin begins to build on top of newer skin causing psoriasis. Biologics are therapeutics usually given by injections used to suppress certain parts of the immune system which cause the disease.
Biosimilar: The Food and Drug Administration describes biosimilar as “a type of biological product that is licensed (approved) by FDA because they are highly similar to an already FDA-approved biological product…”
These drugs are similar to the original biologic therapeutic but not identical. They were approved for psoriasis by the FDA in 2015, but there is a continuing debate on the effectiveness and safety of the drugs.
Chronic disease: An illness that has no cure and is a persistent issue. All autoimmune diseases fall into this category.
Clinical trials: Research trials to test medicines that are undergoing a process to become FDA approved on patients who volunteer to be part of a study that is designed to test the use of the drug. Trials are designed to determine safety, side effects, and effectiveness.
Comorbidities: Other diseases and illnesses you are at risk for due to having psoriasis. Other diseases that are currently linked to psoriasis include heart disease, Crohn's disease, type 2 diabetes, and depression just to name a few!
Dermatologist:Doctors who are specialists of the skin.
Guttate psoriasis: A form of psoriasis characterized by spots as opposed to large plaques. Sometimes resembles bug bites or hives. The second most common form of psoriasis.
Injections:See biologics above
PASI Score: This term stands for Psoriasis Area and Severity Index. It is mostly used during a clinical trial to determine how severe a case of psoriasis is for a patient.
1% of your body is about the size of your palm. 3%-10% of psoriasis is considered moderate, anything above 10% is considered severe.
Phototherapy: This is a form of treatment for psoriasis that has been around for a long time. Patients are prescribed an artificial light called UVB which helps to slow down the over-reactive skin cells which cause psoriasis symptoms.
Plaque psoriasis: Is the most common form of psoriasis and are large plaques of the disease which spread across the body. The appearance of this type of psoriasis is different from guttate.
Systemic drugs: Drugs that work throughout the body on the immune system to prevent it from overacting.
Different from biologics which are drugs that target specific parts of the immune system.
Topicals: Crèmes, lotions, ointments, or oils are used on the surface of the skin. These types of drugs are usually the first line of defense for those that suffer from psoriasis symptoms or are used in conjunction with other drugs.
Trigger: This is a term used to describe what sets off your disease. A common one for psoriasis sufferers is strep throat, others triggers can include environmental factors, allergies, stress, and sickness.
Is skin management a priority in your psoriasis experience? (Select all that apply)
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