Find a committed doctor whose style fits yours
One of the most important steps you can take is to find a health-care provider who is proactive about treating psoriasis. "If you go to somebody for the first time and the [doctor] doesnt seem interested in the psoriasis, my advice is find another one," says Michael Zanolli, MD, an associate clinical professor of medicine at the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine in Nashville, Tenn.
To create an initial treatment plan, a doctor will gauge the severity of your psoriasis based, in part, on the percentage of your body it covers and where the lesions are located. Although the textbook definition of "severe" psoriasis is a case that affects more than 10% of the body, psoriasis can also be considered severe if only, say, the hands or genitals are affected, since it can cause major problems in those areas.
Research before you go
People with psoriasis can help themselves in the doctors office by describing their own symptoms in detail, by informing themselves beforehand about how the disease acts and the available classes of treatments, and by taking a proactive role in their own disease management.
That advocacy can also extend to petitioning an insurance company for coverage of a treatment and finding discount programs that can ease access to medications. Details on so-called patient assistance programs can often be found on drug manufacturers websites, and the NPF also keeps a resource page with links to other groups that can help.