August is recognized by the National Psoriasis Foundation as Psoriasis Awareness Month, bringing together people who suffer from psoriasis and encouraging support amongst them (which is over 8 million Americans alone!)
Elizabeth Drumm, FNP-C, DCNP with Dermatology Associates of La Grange gave us the facts about this skin condition.
Psoriasis is a chronic skin condition appearing as well demarcated, red, and scaly skin lesions or rash. The areas involved are commonly the scalp, elbows, and knees; however, lesions can occur anywhere on the body, including nails. Those with psoriasis have a genetic predisposition for this condition which is triggered by an environmental stressor, such as medications, infections, stress, and so on.
We typically treat psoriasis with topical therapies. Topical steroids, along with topical vitamin D analogs or retinoids, are the mainstay of topical therapy. There are a variety of combination topicals that include both options in one.
Many cases require additional therapies as the involvement is too widespread or recalcitrant to topicals alone. We have various light therapies available in our office, such as narrow-band UVB and X-trac lasers, to supplement therapy. These require a few quick appointments per week for treatment to produce the best results.
There are also systemic treatment options available, including oral medications and injections. These treatment types require bloodwork and monitoring. However, they are very effective in clearing up psoriasis.
Unfortunately, there is no cure for psoriasis. Treatment can keep manage flare ups, and in fact many treatment options will completely clear skin lesions. Those diagnosed with psoriasis have normal life spans.
- Don’t traumatize the psoriasis as new lesions may appear in those wounds. One may notice psoriasis appears in wounds that are even outside of their psoriasis locations.
- Psoriasis can be associated with cardiovascular conditions, arthritis, and other co-morbidities; therefore, it is important to continue follow up with primary care provider and other specialists
- Some sun exposures may be helpful, but limit this to 10-15 minutes about 3-5x/week, as sun exposure can also contribute to skin cancers.
Elizabeth received her Bachelor of Science in Nursing from the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign. While working as a pediatric nurse, she completed the Family Nurse Practitioner program and earned her master’s degree from DePaul University in 2013. Initially, Ms. Drumm practiced as a Nurse Practitioner in pediatric hematology/oncology. Prior to joining Dermatology Associates of LaGrange, Ms. Drumm completed an intensive two-year Dermatology Nurse Practitioner Fellowship training at Lahey Hospital & Medical Center in Burlington, Massachusetts. During this time, she presented on topics in medical dermatology, spent time in dermatology specialty clinics, and attended weekly grand rounds and lectures at the Boston hospitals.
Elizabeth has extensive medical experience, ranging from child and adolescent health care to hematology and oncology, where she then found her passion for dermatology. She enjoys all aspects of medical dermatology, primarily skin cancer screening/prevention and skin rashes.
Elizabeth sees patients of all ages including children! Click here to schedule an appointment with Elizabeth, or call (708) 482-3213.