In your quest for psoriasis treatment, you most likely will be consulting with your doctor first. He then will assess your symptoms and likely refer you to a skin specialist (dermatologist) whom this article will also refer to as doctor. Preparing well for your appointment is one of the most important things you can do in making the most out of your doctor’s appointment.
What you can do before your appointment
- Monitor and write down in a journal your diet and daily activities as well as the moments (times) when your symptoms are at their best or at their worst. Include also in the journal how you feel physically and emotionally prior to your appointment.
- Appraise and write down all your symptoms in the journal. Include in the journal the description of your symptoms in detailed and clear manner.
- Make it a point to research about psoriasis. Educate yourself on this disease by reading materials in your local library and/or in the internet. You only get to gain from knowing as much as you can about your condition as well as the treatment choices you can avail of.
- Include in your journal questions you may want to ask your doctor about your condition and the possible treatments you may be given. You can use this list to prevent yourself from forgetting what you want to talk about and cover other topics more efficiently.
At the doctor’s office be open as possible when talking to your doctor about your condition. During your visit you can:
- Make a detailed description of your symptoms especially relating to your doctor how these symptoms affect your life and how they make you feel
- Tell your doctor about the medicines you are presently using. Include also all herbal remedies, steroids, vitamin and mineral supplements and herbal remedies you are taking. Tell the doctor how your body responds to these medications and what side effects each of them give you.
- Tell your doctor about any previous treatments you have undergone
- Tell him about any expectations you have about the treatment
- Besides your skin condition, tell your doctor of any other conditions you might be suffering from. If you have any joint pain make sure your doctor knows about it.
- Talk to your doctor about your lifestyle particularly your diet and exercise.
- Ask your doctor about the treatment choices you have.
After you and your doctor have chosen an effective treatment plan, make sure you fully comprehend everything about it. If you have prepared specific questions to your doctor, now is the time to ask them. Some of your questions may be like these:
- How does the plan (treatment) work?
- How is the medicine administered?
- What benefits can I expect from the treatment plan?
- How fast will the treatment work?
- What side effects does the medication have? What side effects should I watch out for?
- Will the side effects disappear after I stop treatment or will they be permanent?
- Do I need to be examined regularly? If yes, what kinds of exams and tests do I need to undergo and how regularly do I need to be tested?
- Will the medicine cause my skin to be more sensitive to sunlight?
- If treatment needs to be done in the doctor’s office, how often do I need to go?
- How long will I need to take the medication?
- Can I mix my medication with another medication to make it more potent or to lessen its side effects?
- Can I abruptly end my treatment or do I need to slowly wean myself out of it?
- If the treatment is effective but I may need to stop taking it for some reason or another, will it be still effective if I want to resume taking it a later time?
- What options for treatment do you have for me if I am planning to get pregnant?
Before ending your appointment, be sure to know the number to call if you have an emergency and to make a schedule for the next appointment.
Your doctor for his part will also ask you important questions to better assess your psoriasis and how it is affecting you and your life on a daily basis. Some of the questions your doctor will ask may be like these:
- When did you first notice your symptoms?
- How often do you develop these symptoms?
- Are you symptoms occasionally appearing or have they been continuous?
- How do you rate your psoriasis? Is it mild, moderate or severe?
- How does your psoriasis affect you?
- Can you describe your symptoms? Is it inflamed, itchy and/or painful?
- How frequent do you experience flare-ups?
- What do you think triggers your flare-up?
- Can you describe your affected skin during a flare-up?
- Has your psoriasis prevented your from doing things you normally do? Has your daily routines been affected by it?
- How do you feel about your psoriasis? Does it make you self-conscious and/or less self-confident?
- Has psoriasis impacted your relationships?
Brent Keime is a licensed acupuncturist and the founder of Brent Keime, LAc, MSTOM in San Diego, CA.