Psoriasis is a complex condition. Therefore, it may be necessary for a person to work with several specialists and healthcare professionals to help them manage symptoms and treatment plans.
Healthcare professionals can also assist a person with avoiding comorbidities and may help them manage some of the daily challenges a person living with psoriasis may experience.
Learn more about the professionals that may make up a psoriasis care team.
The recommendation for anyone living with psoriasis is to consult a dermatologist. This is a doctor who is a specialist in the treatment and diagnosis of conditions related to the:
It is especially important people with psoriasis contact a dermatologist if:
- the treatment options recommended by their primary care provider are not working
- their symptoms are worsening
- their disease is flaring
- they are interested in trying treatments such as biologics, phototherapy, and oral treatments
To discuss symptoms with a dermatologist, the National Psoriasis Foundation recommends people to:
- describe symptoms clearly and specifically
- take note of symptoms before appointments
- describe the intensity and location of symptoms
- clearly explain how long symptoms have been present and if they have changed over a period of time
People with psoriasis work closely with a dermatologist to decide on treatments. These may depend on factors such as:
- a person’s health history
- their disease severity
- how they have responded to previous treatments
- their overall health
A primary care provider (PCP) plays an important role in the care of a person with psoriasis.
People who are unable to consult a dermatologist due to their insurance coverage or location may need to work with a PCP to manage their psoriasis.
Even those who can work with a dermatologist for their psoriasis should still see a PCP regularly.
A PCP can help with:
- screening for conditions related to psoriasis
- providing preventive care
- giving regular checkups
- referring to specialists when needed
- the treatment of short- and long-term illnesses
A PCP may be a doctor, a nurse practitioner, or a physician’s assistant.
People with psoriasis are at increased risk for comorbidities. These are health conditions related to psoriasis. A PCP may be able to help diagnose and manage comorbidities such as:
- mental health issues
- cardiovascular disease
- metabolic syndrome
In many cases, a PCP should be a person’s first call for a nonemergency health issue. However, they may not have the same specialist knowledge as a dermatologist.
It is important for a person to ask questions throughout an appointment and communicate openly. If someone finds the recommended psoriasis treatments unsuitable, they can discuss it with the PCP, who will work with them to find appropriate alternatives.
A pharmacist can help a person with psoriasis safely follow the prescribed treatments of other specialists.
A specialist may recommend numerous medications that a person may purchase over the counter (OTC) or get with a prescription.
These may include:
- topical treatments applied to the skin
- biologics via injection or IV
- oral treatments
A pharmacist can help to ensure that medications are safe for a person to take together.
They may also recommend effective OTC treatments that may help manage the symptoms.
Any time a person with psoriasis has questions about their medications, they should contact their pharmacist.
Roughly 30% of people with psoriasis will have psoriatic arthritis. These people may experience pain, stiffness, and swelling in the joints, ligaments, and tendons.
If left untreated, psoriatic arthritis can cause permanent damage to the joints. For this reason, it is important people with psoriasis consult a rheumatologist at the first sign of psoriatic arthritis.
A rheumatologist is a specialist in the diagnosis and treatment of arthritis as well as other diseases of the bones, muscles, and joints.
People with psoriasis should contact a rheumatologist as soon as they can if they experience:
- changes to the nails, such as separation from the nail bed or the presence of a fungal infection
To discuss symptoms with a rheumatologist, those with psoriasis should make a note of:
- pain level
- location of symptoms
- duration of symptoms
The National Psoriasis Foundation provides a screening tool for psoriatic arthritis that may also be helpful.
Finding the best treatment with a rheumatologist will take time. It is important for people to set goals with a rheumatologist and continue to work closely with them to make adjustments when necessary.
Nutrition can play a role in the development and progression of psoriasis. While there is no diet that can cure psoriasis, following a healthy diet can reduce symptom severity as well as reduce the risk of comorbidities.
For this reason, people with psoriasis should consider working with a dietitian.
A dietitian can help people manage their diet as well as advise on good dietary choices. They can also assist with preventing diseases such as diabetes and obesity.
Psoriasis is often associated with the following conditions:
- cardiovascular disease
- inflammatory bowel disease
A dietitian can help a person make dietary choices to help prevent these complications where possible or manage them if they do occur.
When compared with controls,
A dietitian can help address this by:
- asking questions about your diet and lifestyle
- offering guidance about healthy food choices
- monitoring your progress
Psoriasis can significantly affect a person not just physically but mentally.
People with psoriasis may, at times, feel overwhelmed, stressed, or even isolated by their condition.
Those with psoriasis are also more likely to become depressed.
Working with mental health professionals may be beneficial for those living with psoriasis.
Mental health professionals may include:
- clinical social workers
These professionals will be able to help those living with psoriasis cope with the challenges of their daily life.
Mental health professionals such as psychologists can help those with psoriasis manage the mental effects of their chronic condition. This may involve psychotherapy, also known as talk therapy.
Any time a person with psoriasis is experiencing difficulties, they should consider contacting a mental health professional for support. A person with psoriasis may find they need more support during a period of a flare.
An occupational therapist helps those who may have issues with their everyday leisure, home, or work activities due to illness or disability.
Those with psoriatic arthritis, in particular, may benefit from working with an occupational therapist.
They will be able to help by advising on:
- equipment or gadgets that can assist a person in the home or at work
- how to best use joints without putting strain on them
- driving or mobility issues
- exercises to improve grip and movement of the hands and wrists
- splints for supporting joints
- how to manage fatigue
If a person with psoriasis is having difficulties with their day-to-day activities, they should consider asking their PCP for a referral to an occupational therapist.
It is important for people to share any difficulties they may be experiencing with daily activities with the occupational therapist. Together, they can agree on strategies to better manage these challenges.
People living with psoriasis may sometimes feel isolated. However, support is available in the form of online and in-person psoriasis support groups.
These can be a great way to make new friends and share experiences with people in a similar situation.
The National Psoriasis Foundation includes more information on support groups.
Psoriasis is a complex condition. A person living with psoriasis may need to work with a variety of healthcare professionals and specialists to manage their disease. These professionals can help with symptom management and treatment plans and assist in avoiding comorbidities. They can also help address the daily challenges a person living with psoriasis may experience.