While it’s never fun to be diagnosed with psoriasis, the good news is that now you know what you’re up against. This is the first and most important step in taking an uncomfortable, often misunderstood disease and turning it into something manageable. Your doctor will no doubt get you started on a treatment plan, but there are a few extra considerations you might want to address during you appointment.

1. Get Specific

Like many diseases, not all psoriasis is created equal. Mild cases affecting less than 3% of the body are often in isolated patches at the knees or elbows. These can be unsightly, frustrating, and even painful – but they’re also the most easily managed. Moderate and severe cases tend to have a larger impact on patients’ lives, but ongoing advances in treatment options are helping get even these cases under control.

Understanding the severity of your own psoriasis can give you a better sense of just what to expect. In mild cases this could mean putting your mind at ease early on. Or, in more severe cases, it could prompt a helpful conversation with your doctor about additional resources and support options, such as therapy or biologic agent treatment.

It’s also helpful to understand exactly which form of psoriasis you have. Your doctor will likely cover this, but you can also read more at Types of Psoriasis.

2. Take an Active Role in Your Treatment

When treating psoriasis, doctors will often prescribe a customized treatment plan tailored specifically to your condition. Make sure you understand all the details – not just your doctor’s instructions, but also the intent behind them. What is the purpose of your medication? What are the potential side effects? What results should you expect to see, and what warning signs should you look for in case of complications?

Always remember to tell your doctor about any medications you’re already on, whether they are prescription or over-the-counter.

3. Learn About Your Triggers

You’re likely to find your psoriasis is worse sometimes, and better – even nonexistent – at others. While research is still ongoing, the science indicates that external “triggers” cause these flare-ups. They can come in many forms, from stress or injury to diet, alcohol consumption, or even climate.

You should discuss your potential triggers with your doctor. But since they vary from person to person, answers may not come right away. The transition from trigger to flare-up can take as much as a month, so you may want to keep a journal of common triggers such as mood, diet, exercise, weather, etc. Over time, you’re likely to see patterns emerge.

Identifying and avoiding your triggers is a key component in managing your psoriasis and improving your quality of life. You can read more about them at Psoriasis Triggers.

4. Keep Exploring

The battle against psoriasis is always evolving, with new treatments being developed all the time. Stay current with blogs such as this, as well as any other resources your doctor might recommend. Depending on the nature and severity of your psoriasis, as well as your triggers, you may find new treatment options to consider. Some you can do at home while others might require the aid of a medical professional. Just remember to always consult your doctor before attempting any at-home remedies or making any changes to your prescribed treatment.