Unpredictable and irritating, psoriasis is one of the most baffling and persistent of skin disorders. It's characterized by skin cells that multiply up to 10 times faster than normal. As underlying cells reach the skin's surface and die, their sheer volume causes raised, red plaques covered with white scales. Psoriasis typically occurs on the knees, elbows, and scalp, and it can also affect the torso, palms, and soles of the feet.
The symptoms of psoriasis vary depending on the type...
The National Psoriasis Foundation, a nonprofit organization, conducts surveys twice a year to track trends among people with psoriasis. They ask people with psoriasis to dish dirt on doctors, drugs, and life in general with psoriasis.
Among those surveyed, two-thirds of people with psoriasis visit a dermatologist for their psoriasis treatment. About one in five see a general practitioner, and roughly one in four see a rheumatologist.
As for doctors' availability, most people report that when there's a need, they’re able to see their dermatologist. Two-thirds reported being able to get an appointment in less than one month.
For overall psoriasis treatment satisfaction, though, the numbers don’t look so good:
Only 29% of people with psoriasis say they’re "very satisfied" with their psoriasis treatment.
Among those with psoriatic arthritis, only 36% are very satisfied.
One in 10 people with psoriasis have stopped seeking treatment, either because it was unsuccessful or because of the cost.
Most people surveyed were receiving treatment for psoriasis, but treatment hadn’t eliminated the impact of their psoriasis:
41% said psoriasis was a large problem in their lives.
For 38% of people, psoriasis was a moderate problem.
Only 19% said psoriasis was a small problem in their lives.
Of course, no survey is perfect. Only the opinions of people who respond are counted. People might be more likely to respond if they’re frustrated -- making the results appear worse than reality. Still, the surveys suggest most people are not satisfied with their psoriasis treatment.
Improving Your Satisfaction With Psoriasis Treatment
Psoriasis isn’t curable, and its severity varies widely. Some people just have worse symptoms than other people. That can’t be helped. But to some degree, satisfaction with psoriasis treatment is up to you.
Ask questions during your visits to the doctor.
Get more familiar with your own pattern of psoriasis. Track psoriasis outbreaks and any potential triggers.
Become familiar with the various categories of psoriasis treatments: topical treatments, oral drugs, and biologics (which are injected as well as taken orally).
Stick with your psoriasis treatment. Topical treatments can be messy and inconvenient, but people often abandon them without allowing them a full chance to work.