Diagnosing and Treating Psoriasis Online
Psoriasis is one of the most frustrating and persistent skin disorders – why? This skin disorder is characterized by skin cells that multiply up to 10 times faster than normal. When skin cells are duplicating this quickly, the cells will surface and die, which will lead to flaky, scale-like skin. This condition typically appears around the elbows, knees or scalp, but can also affect the torso, palms and soles of the feet.
The most common type of psoriasis is plaque psoriasis. Plaque psoriasis will often result in plaques of red skin, covered with itchy scales of skin. The disorder can also lead to abnormalities of the fingernails and toenails, including discoloration and pitting of the nails. The nails may begin to crumble or detach from the nail bed. (see FAQ's below for descriptions about other types of psoriasis)
During a video consult on Amwell your doctor will ask you a series of targeted questions to determine if your symptoms point to psoriasis. Then your provider will proceed to determine the best treatment plan for you. Your provider may recommend in-person examination by a specialist if this is needed. Your treatment plan is based on the duration and severity of your symptoms and your medical history.
Our platform has an image upload feature that is extremely helpful for both providers and patients. With this feature, our physicians can get a precise, detailed look at your skin before the visit even begins. This feature is also very useful to see how your rash has progressed. If you have been dealing with psoriasis for a while and you have a picture from its early stages, it is helpful for our providers to see the comparison. If your outbreak is on your face, this feature is specifically useful for those that wear makeup – you can take a picture when you have a clean face, save it and upload before your visit! For best results we recommend pictures be taken in bright, natural light, close to the outbreak and from a few different angles. If you can give a size perspective, like laying a dime near the rash, this can be extremely helpful, as well.
Once a diagnosis has been made, your doctor will go over the risks and benefits of the various treatment plans. Treatment for psoriasis is different depending on the severity. A consistent skin care routine is imperative for successful treatment. This is sometimes difficult for adolescent patients, so follow up visits, especially in the beginning of treatment, will be important.
Psoriasis is a chronic health condition that is unfortunately incurable. Although, there is a lot that can be done for mild cases. Options for treatment of psoriasis may include:
- Over-the-counter products
- 1% hydrocortisone creams like Cortaid or CaldeCort
- Careful sunbathing – avoiding sunburns
- A prescription for topical steroids