What to do if you suspect you may have psoriasis?
If you are diagnosed with psoriasis, your dermatologist should examine your health condition using universally recognised evaluation scales:
- PASI (Psoriasis Area and Severity Index) – to examine how advanced your psoriasis is;
- DLQI (Dermatology Life Quality Index) – to determine how psoriasis affects your quality of life;
- BSA (Body Surface Area) – to measure the amount of body surface area affected by rate of psoriasis.
Your doctor should also take your medical history, with a focus on the circumstances in which you experienced the first symptoms of psoriasis (infections, medications, stress).
The choice of the most suitable treatment of psoriasis and the effectiveness of your medications largely depend on the score obtained in these questionnaires. Make sure to keep a record of all your medical tests to be able to show your doctor both previous and latest medical results. A detailed history of your disease will also help your doctor change treatment if you do not respond well to your current therapy. Remember that, if you change your dermatologist, give your new doctor copies of your medical records about psoriasis, including the results of your previous medical tests.
Early diagnosis and initiation of treatment are very important in the management of psoriasis. Psoriasis is an incurable illness that can vary in severity; if it is not properly managed, psoriasis can affect the whole body. Unless it is regularly treated, psoriasis can cause serious health complications. There are many health issues associated with psoriasis, including dysfunctions of internal organs and joints (psoriatic arthritis), which may lead to significant physical impairment. In addition, psoriasis may raise the risk of diabetes, heart diseases, and depression. It is not a life-threatening condition, but it deeply affects the health-related quality of life. Various types of psoriasis can often be triggered by chronic stress or infection.
If you notice any psoriasis-like skin lesions, you should not hesitate and visit a dermatologist specializing in the treatment of this skin condition – this is not necessarily implicit so you should inquire during your first visit. You may be referred for a skin biopsy to confirm the diagnosis. A skin biopsy is a medical test that involves collecting a small piece of affected skin. Histopathology is not necessary to diagnose psoriasis.
If you are found to have psoriasis, ask your dermatologist about your health status, which can be determined using either of the following scales: PASI, DLQI, and BSA. It is important to identify the scale of your disease to choose the best treatment and to be able to determine if it works. By measuring the severity of your psoriasis based on these validated methods, you may perhaps qualify to receive novel therapies used in psoriasis.