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Psoriasis: preparing for your dermatology appointment

At Clinica London, Dr Jennifer Crawley is the consultant dermatologist. She works at University College London and is a dermatologist with expertise in severe skin disorders such as psoriasis and eczema. She is a specialist in skin diseases.
Before you attend to see her, it is a good idea to write down any symptoms that you have been experiencing even if you think that they may be unrelated to the reason for which you scheduled the appointment.
Also make a list of all medications mainly vitamins, herbs and over-the-counter drugs including what are the dosage is as they may be influencing psoriasis. Some drugs can make it worse.
Also, write down questions that you may have for your doctor.
Here are some core issues that you may want to consider asking Dr Crawley:

  1. What is the cause of my skin problem?
  2. Do I need any blood tests or other diagnostic tests such as skin biopsies?
  3. What are the treatment options available and what do you recommend for me specifically?
  4. What type of side effects can I expect from the treatment?
  5. How likely is the treatment you recommend to me to cause a remission in my symptoms?
  6. How quickly can I expect results?
  7. What are the alternative options for the treatment that you are suggesting?
  8. I do have other medical conditions and how can I manage those conditions together with my skin problems?
  9. What home skin care regimes and products do you recommend me to use in addition to your medical treatment for my skin disease?

In turn, you will expect Dr Crawley to ask you questions about your skin. In particular, she will want to know

  1. When did you begin to have your symptoms?
  2. How often do you get your symptoms?
  3. What do you do to relieve your skin symptoms? What makes them feel better?
  4. Are your symptoms continuous or occasional?
  5. Has anyone in your family got a skin problem?
  6. What makes your skin worse?

What happens at your dermatology consultation with Dr Jennifer Crawley?

After you have told Dr Crawley your symptoms and she has asked you some specific questions, the will then examine your skin.
Dr Crawley will diagnose whether you have psoriasis by doing a physical exam after taking your medical history. She will be able to examine your skin, your scalp and your nails all of which may have tell-tale signs of psoriasis and whether you have mild or severe psoriasis.
Rarely she will want to take a small skin biopsy to examine under a microscope. That will take a few days for the analysis to be done and is only done if she wants to rule out other disorders. Skin biopsies are done here at Clinica London under topical or local infiltrative anaesthesia by Dr Crawley.
There are a few conditions that can look a bit like psoriasis such as seborrhoeic dermatitis, lichen planus, ringworm of the body (tinea corporis and pityriasis rosea).
Seborrhoeic dermatitis is very common, characterised by greasy, scaly, itchy, red skin and plaque in the oily parts of the body such as the face, upper chest and back and it can also appear on the scalp as a stubborn itchy dandruff. It can sometimes be mistaken for psoriasis or confused with psoriasis, and your dermatologist will be able to let you know what you have got.
Lichen planus is another inflammatory itchy condition of the skin where there are rows of itchy, flat-topped bumps or lesions on the arms and the legs. Ringworm of the body is caused by a fungal infection of the superficial layer or top layer of the skin the epidermis, and this causes red, scaly rings or circles of rash that can sometimes look a bit like psoriasis.
Pityriasis rosea is a common skin condition usually beginning with one large red spot on the chest called a herald patch or can occur on the abdomen or back, which then spreads. The rash of pityriasis rosea is often extending from the middle of the body, and its shape will resemble drooping pine-tree branches. Often it is its look, feel and shape, which differentiates it from psoriasis.
Dr Jennifer Crawley is an experienced dermatologist who will advise you on your psoriasis diagnosis and management.

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