Having moderate to severe psoriasis puts you at risk for developing other conditions. Your physician may not be able to treat all your conditions, but they can refer you to specialists. You may want to consider consulting one or more of the following specialists in order to get the best treatment.
A dermatologist is the first specialist your doctor will probably refer you to. Dermatologists specialize in treating the skin, nails, hair, and mucous membranes. (Moderate to severe psoriasis often affects the nails, skin, and scalp.)
Not all dermatologists offer the same services and treatments. It’s best to do some research before you make an appointment. Look for a board-certified dermatologist who has experience treating psoriasis. Review their website or call their office to find out if they treat psoriasis or if they focus more on cosmetic procedures.
Up to 30 percent of people with psoriasis develop psoriatic arthritis, according to the National Psoriasis Foundation. This condition can cause joint pain, inflammation, and stiffness. These symptoms require specialized treatment from a rheumatologist.
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Rheumatologists diagnose and treat arthritis and other rheumatic diseases that affect the joints, bones, and muscles. They can help ease your symptoms and improve your quality of life.
An internist is an internal medicine physician. Moderate to severe psoriasis is more than just skin deep. Symptoms can affect other parts of the body, too. Having psoriasis increases your risk of developing cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and cancer. Your doctor may refer you to an internist for this reason.
Internists often act as primary care physicians. However, their training makes them more specialized than general practitioners. They often have subspecialties, which are areas of expertise such as cardiology or gastroenterology.
Internists diagnose and manage complex health issues that affect various parts of the body. They also assist in disease prevention and can offer advice on overall wellness. They can also advise you on ways to lower your risk of other diseases.
Seeing an internist as part of your psoriasis treatment can help you get the care you need for other conditions related to your psoriasis.
Mental health specialists
Psoriasis can affect your mental health as well as your physical health. Self-esteem issues, anxiety, and stress are common for those living with psoriasis.
People with psoriasis have a 39 percent higher risk of depression, according to a 2010 study. People with severe cases of psoriasis have a 72 percent higher risk.
Your doctor will likely refer you to a mental health professional if psoriasis is causing:
- difficulty coping with day-to-day life
Your doctor may refer you to a psychologist, psychiatrist, or social worker, depending on your symptoms and concerns. Their training enables each of these types of specialists to treat different aspects of your mental health.
For instance, a psychiatrist can:
- diagnose mental health disorders, such as depression and anxiety
- talk you through emotional issues
- prescribe medications to treat depression and anxiety
Psychologists can also talk you through your feelings and teach you how to cope with your problems. However, they can’t prescribe medication.
Social workers can help you cope with everyday stressors. They can also put you in touch with psychosocial services.
Seeing multiple specialists can help ensure that you’re getting the right treatment for your psoriasis.