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Psoriasis“World Psoriasis Day (WSD)” – a one-day campaign dedicated to people with psoriasis and/or psoriatic arthritis – is observed internationally on October 29 every year. Supported by the International Federation of Psoriasis Associations (IFPA), this annual campaign aims to increase awareness of this debilitating disease and the effect it has on people’s lives. Psoriasis is a chronic, autoimmune condition that causes rapid buildup of skin cells causing scaling on the skin’s surface. Scales normally develop on joints (like elbows and knees) and any other part of the body including the hands, feet, neck, scalp and face. As there are different types of psoriasis, the signs and symptoms also differ from one person to another and may depend on the type of psoriasis. One of the initial symptoms are red, raised, inflamed patches of skin covered with thick, silvery scales. Other symptoms include – dry/cracked skin that may bleed, small scaling spots, swollen and stiff joints, soreness/itching/burning sensation around the patches, thick pitted nails and painful or swollen joints. Initially, these symptoms may appear for a few days or weeks and then may clear up and be almost unnoticeable. However, within a few weeks, this skin condition may flare up again. In some cases, symptoms may disappear completely. Treatment for this condition aims to reduce inflammation and clear the skin. With appropriate and timely treatment, the severity of symptoms caused by psoriasis can be controlled to a great extent. For accurate clinical documentation of this condition, physicians can benefit from the services of medical billing outsourcing companies.

Reports suggest that about 125 million people are diagnosed with psoriasis around the world. According to the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD), around 7.5 million Americans have psoriasis, which is commonly associated with several other conditions including psoriatic arthritis, Type 2 diabetes, inflammatory bowel disease and heart disease. The event presents a public platform for the psoriasis community to spread information about the condition and improve access to better treatment.

The exact causes of psoriasis are unclear. However, genetics and the immune system play a major role in its development. Other factors that may trigger psoriasis include – viral and bacterial infections, injury to the skin (such as a cut or scrape, a bug bite, or a severe sunburn), obesity, stress, Vitamin D deficiency, heavy alcohol consumption and use of certain medications (lithium, beta blockers, antimalarial drugs, and iodides).

Diagnosis of this skin condition involves taking a detailed review of medical history and examining your skin, scalp and nails. If the symptoms are unclear, dermatologists may take a small sample of skin (known as biopsy) which will be sent to a lab for detailed examination. The sample examination helps to determine the type of psoriasis and to rule out other possible disorders or infections. There is no definite cure for this skin condition. However, treatment modalities help reduce inflammation and scales, slow the growth of skin cells and remove plaques. Treatment modalities include – systemic medications (methotrexate, cyclosporine, biologics, retinoids), topical therapies (include creams and ointments like – topical corticosteroids/retinoids, vitamin D analogues, salicylic acid, moisturizer) and light therapy (like ultraviolet (UV) or natural light).

Dermatology medical coding involves using the specific ICD-10 diagnosis codes for reporting psoriasis on your medical claims. ICD-10-CM codes used to indicate a diagnosis of psoriasis include –

  • L40 – Psoriasis
    • L40.0 – Psoriasis vulgaris
    • L40.1 – Generalized pustular psoriasis
    • L40.2 – Acrodermatitis continua
    • L40.3 – Pustulosis palmaris et plantaris
    • L40.4 – Guttate psoriasis
  • L40.5 – Arthropathic psoriasis
    • L40.50 – Arthropathic psoriasis, unspecified
    • L40.51 – Distal interphalangeal psoriatic arthropathy
    • L40.52 – Psoriatic arthritis mutilans
    • L40.53 – Psoriatic spondylitis
    • L40.54 – Psoriatic juvenile arthropathy
    • L40.59 – Other psoriatic arthropathy
  • L40.8 – Other psoriasis
  • L40.9 – Psoriasis, unspecified

World Psoriasis Day was first observed in the year 2004. Since 2004, the event has become a truly global platform for generating awareness and disseminating information and education about psoriasis and related disorders. The theme for World Psoriasis Day 2018 is “Treat Psoriasis Seriously” – which signifies the need to improve access to treatment, increase understanding and build unity among the psoriasis community.

As part of the event, IFPA along with its members in 56 countries are organizing a wide range of activities such as Awareness-raising walks or running events, lectures/seminars held by medical professionals, distributing flyers and brochures in public places, sending out WPD postcards, sharing stories of psoriasis sufferers via social media platforms and free psoriasis assessment and consultations at hospitals in order to spread as much as information as possible about this autoimmune condition.

Join World Psoriasis Day (WSD) observance on October 29. Make this campaign a unique platform to educate people about this chronic but non-contagious skin condition.