Monday, 24 August 2020, CLEVELAND: More than 125 million psoriasis patients worldwide can control psoriasis and better manage this damaging autoimmune disease.  Rapid advancements in medical treatments are making this possible, argues an expert from the Cleveland Clinic.

A misunderstood auto-immune disease

Dr Anthony Fernandez, M.D., Ph.D., Director of Medical and Inpatient Dermatology at Cleveland Clinic said: “Psoriasis is one of the more common, but misunderstood, autoimmune diseases. While this skin disorder is not contagious, moderate to severe cases are associated with systemic inflammation. This can trigger major damage to internal organs, joints, and decrease lifespan if left untreated. However, with recent advancements, almost all patients can now keep their psoriasis under control – from topical ointments on fingers to biologic therapies for full-body psoriasis.”

Psoriasis is a disease of chronic inflammation

“Psoriasis is a disease of chronic inflammation, which can also have effects throughout the entire vascular system, potentially leading to cardiovascular disease, inflammatory bowel disease, and inflammatory arthritis,” added Dr. Fernandez. “While people in their 20s are the most common age group for psoriasis, seniors should be on the lookout for rashes and joint pain that could be symptoms of psoriasis or psoriatic arthritis. One-third of psoriasis patients will eventually develop psoriatic arthritis. This could permanently destroy joints if not treated properly.” Many patients may have only mild disease, which can often be treated by seeing a dermatologist who can recommend topical medications such as steroids, moisturizers, or coal tar. However, at Cleveland Clinic, a large percentage of their psoriasis patients have moderate to severe psoriasis.

control psoriasisThree palms of scaly rash

This is defined as more than “three palms” of the scaly rash. Moderate to severe psoriasis can be treated with phototherapy using ultraviolet light B (UVB), Vitamin A-related drugs called retinoids, methotrexate that can also treat arthritis, and the immunosuppressant cyclosporine. Cleveland Clinic physicians are seeing the most moderate to severe cases come under adequate control within three months. This significantly improves quality of life for patients. Breakthrough advancements in medical research have driven the development of new treatments such as TNF inhibitors, other injectable biologic therapies, and small molecule immune modulating pills.

Control psoriasis, identify blood markers to help predict outcomes

“Biologic medications have revolutionized our ability to adequately control moderate to severe psoriasis.  Currently, medical researchers are trying to identify blood markers that could predict the likelihood that patients with psoriasis will develop psoriatic arthritis and identifying the immunologic cells of origin in psoriasis whose destruction could one day lead to a cure for psoriasis,” concluded Dr. Anthony Fernandez. “While we’re in the very early stages of this research, I’m hopeful that further advancements will lead to even better treatments, and possibly a cure in the coming decades.”

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About Anthony Fernandez, MD, PhD

Dr. Fernandez completed his dermatology residency at the University of Miami, Florida and a dermatopathology fellowship at the Cleveland Clinic.  He currently practices both medical dermatology and dermatopathology. Dr Fernandez serves as Director of medical and inpatient dermatology.  Clinically, he specializes in the treatment of systemic autoimmune and inflammatory diseases with prominent cutaneous involvement.

His research interests mirror his clinical interests, with ongoing projects involving psoriasis, dermatomyositis, lupus erythematosus, and pemphigus vulgaris.  He’s also active in a variety of national professional organizations and was recently chair of the finance committee for the American Society of Dermatopathology.

The Cleveland Clinic

Cleveland Clinic is a nonprofit multi-specialty academic medical center that integrates clinical and hospital care with research and education. Located in Cleveland, Ohio, it was founded in 1921 by four renowned physicians with a vision of providing outstanding patient care based upon the principles of cooperation, compassion and innovation. The Cleveland Clinic has pioneered many medical breakthroughs, including coronary artery bypass surgery and the first face transplant in the United States. U.S. News & World Report consistently names the Cleveland Clinic as one of the nation’s best hospitals in its annual “America’s Best Hospitals” survey.

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Emily Sloane

I am a nature lover, and freelance writer. I love sharing new insights on how to live a healthier life using nature's gifts. Be kind. Be generous. Live in the now.

The content in this editorial is for general information only and is not intended to provide medical or other professional advice. For more information on your medical condition and treatment options, speak to your healthcare professional.

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