Managing Your Plaque Psoriasis
What Is Plaque Psoriasis?
Plaque psoriasis (the most common form of psoriasis) occurs in people with overactive immune systems. Inflammation in the body causes a buildup of skin cells, resulting in raised, red, scaly, and sometimes itchy patches (or plaques) on the skin.
These plaques can appear anywhere but typically are seen on the elbows, chest, back, and knees. Other common areas include psoriasis on the face (eyelids, ears, mouth, and lips), skin folds, hands and feet, nails, and scalp. At least half of people with plaque psoriasis are estimated to have at least one flare-up of scalp psoriasis.
- More than 8 million people have psoriasis in the US
- 3-10% of the body is affected when psoriasis is considered moderate
- 10% or more of the body is affected when psoriasis is considered severe
- Nearly 25% of people with psoriasis have cases that are considered moderate to severe
- Nearly 60% of people with psoriasis view their condition as problematic to their everyday life
- 15-25 is the age when psoriasis often appears, but it can develop at any age
- 10-30% of people with psoriasis also develop psoriatic arthritis
- About 1 in 3 people with psoriasis have a relative with psoriasis
- Nearly 90% of psoriasis patients feel helpless and embarrassed, with impact to their overall emotional well-being, according to a survey by the National Psoriasis Foundation
Is psoriasis the same as eczema?
While psoriasis can be misdiagnosed as eczema, the main difference between psoriasis and eczema is that psoriasis is a chronic autoimmune condition (when your immune system mistakenly recognizes your body as foreign and attacks it). Unlike psoriasis, eczema is caused by hypersensitivity of the skin to certain environmental and possibly genetic factors and may eventually be outgrown.
Psoriasis Is More Than Skin Deep
Not all psoriasis symptoms are physical, however. Nearly 90% of psoriasis patients report experiencing an impact to their overall emotional well-being, including feeling helpless and embarrassed, according to a survey by the National Psoriasis Foundation. The emotional impact is especially true for women, and can include feeling lonely and isolated.
To understand the full impact of your psoriasis symptoms, download our Doctor Discussion Guide to help you with the next conversation with your dermatologist. Through open conversation with your doctor about how symptoms are affecting you physically and emotionally, together you can decide how to treat your psoriasis.
If you have psoriasis and also are experiencing pain, stiffness, or swelling in and around your joints, these may be symptoms of psoriatic arthritis. Ask a specialist (your dermatologist and/or your rheumatologist) to learn how CIMZIA (certolizumab pegol) may be able to help.
Common Psoriasis Triggers
While the cause of psoriasis is unknown, it is thought that genetics can play a role, and that at least 10% of people inherit one or more genes that could eventually lead to psoriasis. Not everyone who inherits these genes will go on to develop psoriasis, however. Researchers believe that for people to develop or experience flare-ups of their psoriasis, they must also be exposed to specific external factors, or “triggers,” for the condition.
Triggers include (although not everyone's psoriasis is affected the same):
- Cold and dry weather
- Certain foods
- Injury to skin
- Certain medications (including lithium, antimalarials, Inderal, quinidine, indomethacin)
How To Treat Psoriasis
If you've tried many different treatment options for your moderate to severe plaque psoriasis, you are not alone. The condition can be unpredictable; that’s why it’s so important to talk to a dermatologist to fully understand the complexities of psoriasis and how to find the right treatment for you.
Depending on the severity of psoriasis, doctors often start patients on non-systemic treatments (those that work directly on the skin vs. inside the body) such as topical creams and lotions, or phototherapy. Depending on the progression and response for each individual case of psoriasis, systemic medications (oral/pill, injectable, or infused medications) may then be prescribed.
CIMZIA (certolizumab pegol), as a biologic for psoriasis, works inside the body, and may help people achieve or regain results when other treatment options haven’t worked. Ask your dermatologist how CIMZIA may work for you.
Manage Your Psoriasis With Confidence
By keeping track of your symptoms, writing down any questions you have, and being open with your dermatologist about what you’re experiencing, you can find the treatment that’s most appropriate for you, even if you've been on other biologics before. To ensure a productive conversation at your next appointment, download our Doctor Discussion Guide.
Resources for Support
CIMplicity® is a free program that provides support at each step of your experience when treating your psoriasis with CIMZIA (certolizumab pegol). For more details, enroll now.*
The National Psoriasis Foundation works to find a cure for psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis and to eliminate their devastating effects through research, advocacy, and education. Call 1-800-723-9166 for questions about psoriasis and/or psoriatic arthritis.
*The CIMplicity program is provided as a service of UCB and is intended to support the appropriate use of CIMZIA. The CIMplicity program may be amended or canceled at any time without notice. Some program and eligibility restrictions may apply.