It's summer again, so while everyone else in Michigan, where I live, is shedding sweaters and jeans for tank tops and shorts, I'm looking for cover.
This is a yearly ritual, poring over catalogs in search of a breezy, near-ankle-length skirt and chic little cardigan to hide my patchy skin. Those bold-print maxi dresses that are in vogue could solve the problem, but really, how many yachting parties and clambakes do I attend?
Stubborn, stubborn psoriasis. You retreat with the sun's rays, but barely...
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 they’re able to see their dermatologist when they need to. 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 medications).
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.
For many people, total satisfaction with psoriasis treatment will only come when there’s a cure. Until then, your best shot is to learn about available treatments for psoriasis, become an expert in your own pattern of psoriasis, and partner with your doctor to manage your psoriasis.
If something isn’t working, if it’s time to try something new, or if you’re just unhappy with your psoriasis treatment, say so. Your doctor may not realize it’s time for a change without hearing it from you.