Dr. Hala Al Jaber, Specialist Dermatologist at Medcare Mirdif Medical Center said, “Globally, and in the UAE specifically, there is a limited understanding amongst patients of the presentation, cause and treatment options for psoriasis. Lack of knowledge can lead to delayed diagnosis and lead to worsened comorbidities.”
What is Psoriasis?
Psoriasis is a complex life-long, autoimmune inflammatory disease that is thought to occur when environmental triggers interact with a patient’s immune system and can present in many different ways. It usually appears on the skin as non-contagious chronic red patches covered by white scales over affected areas such as the elbows and knees.
It is also a systemic disease, meaning patients diagnosed with psoriasis are at a higher risk of developing other serious medical conditions. Psoriasis can lead to an increased prevalence of psoriatic arthritis, cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, Celiac disease and inflammatory bowel disease. Being diagnosed with chronic conditions such as psoriasis can also lead to depression and low self-esteem. The nature of these comorbidities means that the most effective treatment is improving the patient’s lifestyle and overall health. Topical treatments, phototherapy and systemic medicines can help manage the condition.
“Although many treatment options exist, there is no cure for this condition as there is a genetic component to the disease,” said Dr. Rahul Chaudhary, Specialist Dermatologist at Medcare Discovery Gardens Medical Center. “However certain risk factors are preventable; patients should manage their weight and stress levels, reduce alcohol intake and avoid smoking. These lifestyle changes can reduce the severity of psoriasis flares.”
“My approach to treatment involves assessing the severity of the patient’s condition. Combination therapy of topicals, phototherapy and oral medication has traditionally worked best, but lately, biologic treatments targeting the patient’s immune system have been gaining momentum and seeing results faster. Timely diagnosis and proper treatment mean the disease will go into remission faster,” explained Dr. Chaudhary.
When it comes to treating psoriasis, Dr. Al Jaber highlighted: “There are many therapies that provide a standard level of care, but it does not mean that all patients will respond well to any treatment. There are many factors and comorbidities to be considered when trying to find the right treatment option for a patient.”
References available on request.