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Treatments for psoriasis will depend on the severity of the outbreak

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Updated: Friday, Jun 11,2010, 3:13:56 PM
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Treatments


Treatments for psoriasis will depend on the severity of the outbreak. there are four basic ways to treat it.

    * Topical with medicines applied to the skin. Topical medications are considered the first line of defense. topical medications can help slow down the excessive cell reproduction and also help reduce inflammation. improvement can come almost immediately. Topical medications include anti-inflammatory drugs called corticosteroids, synthetic forms of vitamin D, coal tar, salicylic acid and topical retinoids. Moisturizers may also help to make skin feel better, though they won't actually affect the psoriasis.
    * Phototherapy with regular planned doses of natural or artificial light. With natural sunlight there is always the concern of too much sun, which can make the problem worse, and also do its own type of damage to the skin. For this reason, treatment is done under a doctor's supervision. Phototherapy is also often combined with a light-sensitizing medication. The medication can be taken internally. There is also a topical form of the medication which can be applied to the skin before exposure to a therapeutic light source.
    * Laser therapy - Lasers can also be used to target selected areas of the skin that are affected by psoriasis. Laser therapy may not be appropriate for severe cases of psoriasis.
    * Systemic which involves the taking of drugs internally. Oral medications may be used if other treatments have not been successful. Oral medications for psoriasis include retinoids, methotrexate or hydroxyurea. In some cases, biologic drugs that suppress or modify the immune system may be used. Some biologic drugs block the activation of certain immune cells. Others affect chemical messengers in the immune system that can trigger inflammation. Because systemic medications affect the entire body, there can be many side effects, so you need to discuss the advantages and disadvantages carefully with your doctor.

It's also important to take good care of your skin. When bathing, avoid very hot water and use mild soaps, use gentle moisturizers and maintain a healthy weight.


Complications

The average age for getting psoriasis is 28, according to NPF, although the disease can develop at any time. In many cases, the symptoms are mild and people are able to function normally, although because of its appearance, some may suffer low self esteem as a result. Some cases of psoriasis are more serious, however. One of the more serious complications can be psoriatic arthritis. This is a rheumatic disease that develops in about ten percent of people with psoriasis. It can affect one joint or many. Sometimes, joints on only one side of the body are affected. The pain associated with psoriatic arthritis can range from mild to extremely painful, even disabling.

There is no cure for this form of arthritis; treatment focuses on relieving pain. Medications can include nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), corticosteroids and disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs). In severe cases, drugs to suppress the immune system may be used, as can tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-alpha) inhibitors. You will need to discuss the risks and advantages of all these medications with your doctor.

As with other forms of arthritis, weight control is important, so you don't put added pressure on your weight-bearing joints. The Arthritis Foundation also recommends proper exercise for arthritis treatment. Exercises can develop range of motion, using gentle stretching, for example, to improve joint mobility. Strengthening exercises for muscles can also help stabilize joints. Always consult your doctor or physical therapist for information on the right type of exercise for your specific problem.

Tags: Psoriasis

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