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Psoriasis: The Most Common Autoimmune Disease in the U.S.

Psoriasis: The Most Common Autoimmune Disease in the U.S.

What is psoriasis and how common 
is this condition?
Psoriasis is an inflammatory condition of the skin that affects approximately one to two percent of the U.S. population. Plaque psoriasis is the most common type and appears as thick, red raised plaques covered by a silvery-white scale that easily flakes off. While the most common areas of skin affected are the scalp, knees and elbows, any skin surface may be involved. There is some genetic component to the development of psoriasis, so it tends to run in families.

How is psoriasis diagnosed?
A dermatologist may need to do a biopsy to make the diagnosis if the presentation is atypical. When one has joint symptoms, an x-ray may be required to diagnose psoriatic arthritis, especially without skin findings.

How is psoriasis treated?
There are a variety of treatment options that include topical (creams) and systemic (pills and injections) medicines, as well as laser treatments (xtrac laser).  Psoriasis is caused by overactivity of certain immune system pathways, so many, but not all, of the treatments target these pathways.  Although it is not curable, most people with psoriasis can achieve and maintain clear skin with treatment.

Is all psoriasis alike, or does it differ from person to person?
The course of a person’s psoriasis is hard to predict. No matter what treatment plan I develop with my patients, I ask them to check in with me periodically so that we may monitor for disease progression, new areas of involvement and potential joint disease. With changes in a patient’s psoriasis, it is necessary to change treatment to ensure that we treat all of the disease.

Are there any health complications associated with psoriasis?
Studies have found that patients with psoriasis have an increased risk of both cardiovascular disease and metabolic syndrome. Altogether, this may put patients at higher risk of heart attacks, strokes, blood vessel blockages and diabetes. Consequently, it is important to treat psoriasis since this may also prevent these associated problems. Patients with psoriasis must see their primary care doctors regularly to monitor for such conditions.

Is psoriasis a lifelong condition?
Even though most cases are chronic, with today’s treatment options, psoriasis can usually be controlled such that there is no visible disease. My goal for my patients is to get them as close to 100 percent clear as possible.

Aesthetic & Dermatology Specialty Centre
1825 Old Alabama Rd., Suite 201
Roswell, GA 30076
(770) 393-9000

Dr. Chynna Steele-Griffin is an expert in the areas of medical, surgical and cosmetic dermatology. She received her college degree from Harvard University and her medical degree from the University of Chicago. Subsequently, she completed her medical internship at Mount Sinai School of Medicine hospital in New York and her dermatology training at Washington University in St. Louis.

Today Dr. Steele-Griffin is a member of several professional organizations including the American Academy of Dermatology, American Society of Dermatologic Surgery and Women’s Dermatologic Society. At Aesthetic & Dermatology Specialty Centre, she focuses on diagnosis and treatment and incorporates prevention and education into her care.

Dr. Steele-Griffin is accepting new patients.

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