Psoriasis – a chronic skin condition, characterized by red scaly plaques, which may have cracked itchy skin. Portland dermatologist and honorary medical chair for the Oregon National Psoriasis foundation, Dr. Beata Rydzik states, “Patients are usually surprised when they find out just how many Americans are living with psoriasis, according to some of the most recent figures, the condition now affects over 7million people in this country.” Dr. Rydzik’s assertion confirms recent data published by leading psoriasis resource, The National Psoriasis Foundation.
Offering insight into the underlying causes of psoriasis, Dr. Rydzik postulates: “There is no simple answer when it comes to what’s behind psoriasis. Many believe that the condition occurs due to a complex interplay between individual’s genetic predisposition, immune dysregulation, and environmental triggers. Known triggers include both emotional stress, infection (such as strep), injury to the skin, weather (cold, dry), certain kinds of medications (such as Lithium and some beta blockers).”
Dr. Rydzik also elaborated on the approach her practice takes when it comes to treating psoriasis: “Since there are several forms of psoriasis, it is crucial that we treat each patient as a unique individual. Although there is no known cure, we make sure that patients understand that psoriasis can be managed.”
When asked to offer advice to those recently diagnosed, Dr Rydzik says: “It is important that those who have been diagnosed recently as well as in the past know that they are most certainly not alone. The National Psoriasis Foundation is a great resource for our patients to visit and get valuable information from. Although a cure is currently not available, there are numerous ongoing studies looking at this complex far reaching condition.”
“There is hope for a cure on the horizon. Although you have psoriasis it does not mean it has you! What patients need to understand is that psoriasis can be managed. Today we can offer so much more to our patients with psoriasis.” Dr. Rydzik adds: “Patients with psoriasis should also understand the association between psoriasis and metabolic syndrome. Metabolic syndrome is a name for a group of risk factors that occur together and increase our risk for coronary artery disease, stroke, and type II diabetes. That is why each patient with psoriasis should not only see their dermatologist but also have regular checkups with their primary care provider.”