When you’re treating psoriasis, you’ll have the help of an entire team of health care professionals to help you. It may include your primary care doctor, a dermatologist, and other specialists who’ll work together as part of your care plan. Each member of your care team will want to know more about you and how they can help manage your condition. One way they gather more information is to ask questions. Here are some of the questions you may expect at your next appointment.
What Are Your Symptoms?
Physical and mental changes are signs of a potential health issue. If your doctor suspects you have psoriasis or a related condition like psoriatic arthritis, they could ask about:
- Timing. When did your symptoms start? How often do you have them?
- Pain. What’s your level of pain on a scale from 0 to 10?
- Location. Where do you feel your symptoms the most?
- Non-skin-related symptoms. Do you have joint pain? Any other symptoms unrelated to your skin?
- Length of time. Are your symptoms constant, or do they come and go?
- Symptom changes. Does anything make your symptoms better or worse?
- Quality of life. Have your symptoms affected your daily life, such as causing you to skip social situations or dress differently? Do they affect your relationships?
- Mental and emotional health. Have your symptoms negatively impacted your mental and emotional health?
Do You Have a Family History of Psoriasis?
Experts who study psoriasis think the condition runs in families – meaning you’re more likely to form the illness if one or both of your parents have it. So, your health care provider may ask if you have an immediate family member with psoriasis.
Which Prescription Medicines and Supplements Are You Taking?
Your doctor wants to know about any other health conditions and the medicines or supplements you’re taking for them. This information will help avoid side effects, medication errors, and drug interactions. Plus, certain drugs can trigger a psoriasis flare, including lithium, high blood pressure drugs, and drugs to ward off malaria.
Are You Pregnant or Breastfeeding?
Your doctor will ask if you’re pregnant, may become pregnant, or are breastfeeding. That’s because some psoriasis medications, including retinoids, calcineurin inhibitors, coal tar, and cyclosporine, can pass from parent to child during pregnancy or through your breast milk.
What Does Your Daily Life Look Like?
Questions about your day-to-day life can offer insight into managing psoriasis and avoiding a flare. Your doctor may ask:
- Do you smoke, or are you exposed to smoke? Smoking and breathing in secondhand smoke are known psoriasis triggers.
- Do you drink alcohol? Heavy alcohol use is also a common psoriasis trigger.
- What’s the weather like where you live? Cold, dry weather can cause a psoriasis flare. On the other extreme, hot weather may also make your skin feel itchy.
- Do you spend time in the sun? While some sunlight can ease psoriasis, too much can make it worse.
- Any recent changes in your life? Illness and stress play a role in making psoriasis worse.
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Canadian Psoriasis Network: “Prepare For Your Appointment.”
National Psoriasis Foundation: “Rheumatologist.”
Mayo Clinic: “Psoriasis.”
Estes Park Health: “Why Does My Doctor Need to Know All My Medications?”
American Academy of Dermatology Association: “Psoriasis: Diagnosis and Treatment.”