IN THIS ARTICLE
Psoriasis is more of an inconvenience in most cases than it is threatening. However, it is a chronic disease for which there is no true cure. The itching and peeling of skin can lead to significant pain and self-esteem issues. By far, the patient's quality of life is affected most with plaque psoriasis. Self-consciousness and embarrassment about appearance, inconvenience, and high costs of treatment options all affect one's outlook when living with psoriasis.
Complications of the disease are relatively uncommon. Many of the complications of plaque psoriasis are related to the treatments used for the disease. Systemic steroids (steroid pills or steroid injections) are not recommended in the routine management of psoriasis. They may appear to work very well, but once the medication is discontinued the patient may develop a much more severe form of the disease. These include pustular psoriasis (pus-containing bumps or patches on the skin) or erythrodermic psoriasis ("red skin," in which the entire skin becomes red, swollen, and painful). Oversensitivity to the sun is possible with many of the treatment options (especially phototherapy).
Some cases of plaque psoriasis are associated with psoriatic arthritis. Most of the medications which help psoriatic arthritis also help the skin.
Methotrexate, PUVA, cyclosporine, and oral retinoids all have helped to induce and maintain remission in severe cases of plaque psoriasis.
It has recently become apparent that most patients with psoriasis are predisposed to diabetes, obesity, and cardiovascular disease. It is important that such patients seek good overall medical care aside from simply treating their skin disease.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 11/30/2015
Jeffrey J. Meffert, MD
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