The Severity of Psoriasis – How Severe Is Severe?

by Mel on February 2, 2010

Psoriasis comes in varying degrees and we so often hear of people referring to the condition as mild, moderate or severe.  But what is the severity of your psoriasis?  How do you know how severe is severe?

For some their psoriasis appears as a few small areas of affected skin or just the nail beds being involved whilst for others the entire torso or legs are involved.  At what point does the condition stop being mild and become moderate or severe?

It’s all in the palm of your hand

The severity of psoriasis is measured by the use of the palm of the hand.  One palm of the hand represents 1% of the skin involved.  Less than 3% of the skin being affected by psoriasis means the condition will be classified as mild.  Between 3 – 10% coverage is classed as moderate and anything over 10% is considered severe psoriasis.

The form of treatment selected to treat psoriasis is often based on the severity of the condition.  Mild psoriasis is usually treated with topical creams alone.  Severe psoriasis frequently uses a combination of topical treatments, systemic treatments and ultraviolet light therapy.

Biologic Drugs – New treatment available

In 2003 a new form of treatment became available when the FDA gave approval for the new biologic drugs to be used in the treatment of psoriasis.  Some of these biologic drugs were on the markets prior to 2003 but were only approved for the use in treating immune related disorders such as ulcerative colitis and rheumatoid arthritis.

Biologic drugs are only used for moderate and severe psoriasis.  It is believed that they are safer and more effective for long term treatment however a full evaluation of long term side effects is yet to be established as the drugs themselves are still relatively new.

Whilst the severity of psoriasis persists at least the treatment options are ever improving giving sufferers increased options and more hope of leading a comfortable life with reduced psoriasis symptoms.

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