Even a small patch of psoriasis can impact your life in a big way.
This is especially true when it comes to psoriasis on the hands, feet, genitals and face—areas where psoriasis can be considered “mild” but actually have a significant impact, said Abby Jacobson, a dermatology physician’s assistant.
Generally, psoriasis is considered mild if it covers less than 3 percent of your body surface area. However, psoriasis of the face, hands, genitals and feet can ‘break the rules, per se,” said Jacobson, who sees patients at Family Dermatology of Reading, Pennsylvania.
“One of my favorite questions I like to ask patients is, ‘Do you consider your psoriasis mild, moderate or severe?” she said.
Yet, even if your psoriasis is having a big impact on your life, talking about it may be hard—even when your healthcare provider poses the question. Jacobson said embarrassment and not realizing how a more aggressive treatment could improve life keeps patients from speaking up.
“The patients have to really advocate for it,” said Jacobson “We’re trying to educate our peers in being better detectives, to pull out that information, but no one can advocate better for a psoriasis patient than the psoriasis patient.”
Jacobson offers these ideas if you’re are ready for more aggressive treatment:
- Find a healthcare provider you trust. Having someone you can really talk with is crucial. “Then, the discussion lends itself to that kind of conversation. If you don’t have that, find someone else.”
- Say it like it is. Be forthcoming about how psoriasis affects your everyday life and relationships. “Tell your provider ‘This is severely impacting the quality of my life and I need a more aggressive treatment.’ I would like to hope that your provider would say, ‘What do you need?’ and really take it seriously.”
- Show your commitment. Your willingness to keep dermatology appointments, listen to your healthcare provider, do the necessary testing and stay on top of prescriptions all demonstrate your dedication to treating your psoriasis. This speaks volumes to your provider, and she will more likely work with you on a more aggressive treatment, Jacobson said.
- Value yourself. Too often, patients push aside concerns because they don’t think their psoriasis “is as bad as it could be.” Too many patients alter their lives and don’t even realize it, she said. “We need to be listening. They’ll say, ‘I know there are other patients who have it worse than me,’ and I say, ‘No, no, no, they’re not walking your walk.’ If it’s bothering you, that’s always what’s important.”
Driving discovery, creating community
For more than 50 years, we’ve been driving efforts to cure psoriatic disease and improve the lives of those affected. But there’s still plenty to do! Learn how you can help our advocacy team shape the laws and policies that affect people with psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis – in your state and across the country. Help us raise funds to support research by joining Team NPF, where you can walk, run, cycle, play bingo or create your own fundraising event. If you or someone you love needs free, personalized support for living a healthier life with psoriatic disease, contact our Patient Navigation Center. And keep the National Psoriasis Foundation going strong by making a donation today. Together, we will find a cure.