8 Tips From People With Psoriasis on How to Advocate for Yourself
In these situations, seeking care through your primary care provider or a low-cost clinic in your area may be enough to get treatment started. Another option is finding a doctor or other health care provider through a telehealth platform. These virtual visits can help decrease barriers like living in an area with limited medical services or not having access to transportation. The promising news is teledermatology does seem to be making a difference, according to a 2021 study published in Current Dermatology Reports, particularly for people with Medicaid insurance, those living in urban or rural areas without access to many in-person health resources, and older people.3
Tip #3: Familiarize yourself with your diagnosis.
“I think it’s really important to keep a log of your symptoms between appointments, things you’re trying, and other ways your condition may be affecting your daily life,” Reena Ruparelia, who has lived with psoriasis for almost 30 years, tells SELF. This means when you see your doctor, they see you’re coming in prepared and ready to dive into what’s going on.
Ruparelia, who shares her psoriasis story on Instagram, says when she was first diagnosed, she thought the doctor and dermatologist were supposed to tell her what to do and it was up to her just to follow it. But as the years went on, she realized that it was essential to be a part of the conversation.
“I think it’s easy to rely on someone else to tell us what to do, but when you’re living with a condition like psoriasis, where you feel like you have little or no control, paying attention and being an advocate for yourself can give you a feeling of empowerment and also help you get what you really need,” Ruparelia says.
For Skiles, this meant understanding her psoriasis triggers, which included things like diet, stress levels, alcohol consumption, and more—all things her doctor wouldn’t necessarily have known about if she hadn’t done the legwork to figure it out.
A good first step is to start a symptom journal and log anything that seems to affect your psoriasis—both positively and negatively. You can also use this journal to take notes about your psoriasis, including changes in symptoms, how treatment seems to be working, and if you’re noticing anything new. Bring this journal to your appointments and discuss it with your doctor. You can use your notes as a jumping-off point to talk about things like which symptoms are most bothersome and when your psoriasis seems to flare.
A psoriasis journal can be as simple as an old-school pen and piece of paper, or you can download an app like Psoriasis Monitor or Imagine Skin Tracker for your smartphone or tablet.
Tip #3: Be honest about your symptoms.
Hiding how psoriasis impacts you isn’t going to serve anyone—you or your doctor. Bridges stresses the importance of letting your care team know how this condition impacts every part of you, including, school, work, dating, and even normal, daily tasks.