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Life With Psoriasis: Treatments & Costs

Updated 20 Apr 2021 – By Team Loanstreet


Maybe you’re not familiar with psoriasis or don’t know anyone with it, but you may have seen a person with signs of the disease - red, scaly skin patches, small red dots, or pus-filled blisters at the elbows, hands, face and even on the trunk.

First, let’s be clear, as suggested by WebMD, psoriasis isn’t a skin condition like acne or rashes, but it's an autoimmune disease that causes the body to make new skin cells in days rather than weeks. 

 

Image source: everydayhealth.com


If you’re into pop culture, you may have heard of celebrities like Kim Kardashian and Cara Delevingne talk about their own experiences with psoriasis. 


Well, they aren’t alone. 


It has affected 2% to 3% of the world's population. And, as reported by The Edge, a study made by the Medical Journal of Malaysia shared that in Malaysia, 2% to 6% of new patients at dermatology clinics yearly are found to have psoriasis.


So, what causes psoriasis? Is it infectious?



Image source: WebMD

One thing for sure, it’s not caused by bacteria, parasites, or anything else that can be transmitted from person to person (it’s not contagious). In general, experts believes that most types of psoriasis result from the same triggers:
  • Medicine
  • Skin Trauma
  • Alcohol
  • Stress
  • Obesity
  • Endocrine Disorders



What are the types of psoriasis?

According to WebMD, there’s a few types of psoriasis. It’s important to know what kind of psoriasis you have so that you can discuss your treatment plan with your doctor. Not only that, but you’ll also be able to manage your cost, effectively. 


Psoriasis: cell movement
 
  • Plaque Psoriasis
This is the most common type. According to WebMD, about 8 in 10 people with psoriasis have this kind. Some of the symptoms include inflamed skin and scaly, as well as silvery plaques with a clear border. It usually can be seen visibly on elbows, knees, scalp and lower back.
 
  • Nail Psoriasis
It can cause several different symptoms like nail pitting, nail bed separation, changes in nail shape or thickness and nails discolouration. A study published in 2016 noted that 80% to 90% of people with plaque psoriasis also have nail psoriasis.
 
  • Guttate Psoriasis
Said to be not as common as plaque psoriasis (less than a third of people with psoriasis have this type), this type of psoriasis shows up on your skin as red, scaly, small, teardrop-shaped spots. You usually get it as a child or young adult. 


Image source: MedicineNet
 
  • Inverse Psoriasis
It looks like red, shiny patches appearing in skin folds like the armpit, under breasts and groin area. According to Healthline, people who have inverse psoriasis often have another form as well, like plaque psoriasis, on other parts of their body.
 
  • Pustular Psoriasis
Pustular psoriasis is a rare, immune-mediated systemic skin disorder characterised by white pustules (or blisters of pus) surrounded by red skin. Medical News Today shared around 1 in 10 people with pustular psoriasis have a previous history of plaque psoriasis.
 
  • Erythrodermic Psoriasis
A study noted that this is a rare and severe form of psoriasis. It estimated that only 1% to 2.25% of psoriatic patients are affected by the disease. Severely inflamed skin shedding in large sheets. Some of the symptoms may include shedding of the skin in sheets instead of smaller scales, burned looking skin, severe pain and itching.

 

Can it be cured? What are the treatments available?

Unfortunately, according to the British Association of Dermatologists, there’s no cure for psoriasis at the moment. However, some treatments can help relieve and manage your symptoms. Left untreated, it can cause other medical consequences such as psoriatic arthritis (PsA) or other serious health conditions like cardiovascular conditions, diabetes and depression, just to name a few.

So, it’s important to talk to your doctor when symptoms develop. The type of treatment you’d be getting depends on the type of psoriasis and its severity.
 
  • Topical Treatments


Applied to the surface of the skin to treat symptoms. Available in the form of ointments, creams, lotions, gels and pastes.
 
  • Phototherapy



Treats by exposing skin to ultraviolet B (UVB) and ultraviolet A (PUVA) light. Also known as light therapy, it’s administrated in a medical setting or at home, with special equipment.
 
  • Systemic treatment



Available in the form of pills, tablets, capsules or liquid medications. It treats inside the body, as a potential source of psoriasis.
 
  • Biologics


Similar to systematic treatment, it treats inside the body, by blocking specific pathways of the immune system. The treatment can be received via injections (shots) or intravenous (IV) infusions (slow drip of medication) administrated by the needle.

Many experts believe that biologics offer one of the best treatment options. A study by the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) found that more than half of the patients achieve complete skin clearance (based on PASI 100 Improvements) at week 48.

 

How to manage psoriasis treatment cost?



The cost of psoriasis treatment would be a huge financial burden, depending on the severity. Based on this petition by the Psoriasis Association Of Malaysia, most psoriasis patients couldn’t afford the cost of treatment.

Additionally, a local study done by the International Journal of Health & Management highlighted that most psoriasis patients in Malaysia suffer from a moderate form of the disease. It would cost a patient around RM5,000 to RM36,000 a year depending on the type of treatment and medication received.



If you’re one of the Psoriasis patients who have trouble paying for the cost of care, below are what you can do to manage your medical costs. 

1. Save on medications.
Before you lay down the credit card for expensive, long-term topical ointments or medications, ask your doctor for free samples for you to test for skin reactivity. You could also ask for a medical assistance scheme or if there are available Patient Assisted Programme (PAP) to save on your treatment cost.

2. Make an EPF Withdrawal.
Yes, EPF allows its members to withdraw their savings from Account 2 to pay for medical expenses incurred, for the treatment of critical illnesses AND/OR to buy medical aid equipment.
 
3. Get insurance coverage.
Talk to your insurance agent to get yourself covered by your medical insurance for the treatment and medicine cost.

4. Get alternative financing like a personal loan.
Given the cost and complexity of treatment regimens, the financial impact of psoriasis treatment can be significant. If you cannot afford the medicine that your dermatologist prescribes, you may be able to get financial help. 

CLICK HERE to start comparing with different banks to make sure that you’re getting the best personal loan for your budget and situation. Don't let high costs prevent you from getting proper psoriasis treatments.

For more information about the cost of treating psoriasis, please consult your healthcare professional.


*The above article is intended for informational purposes only. Loanstreet accepts no responsibility for loss that may arise from reliance on information contained in the articles.
 
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