Help For Psoriasis

Wilma Barron loves a good game of cards. She loves to play with her senior group at Pollard Methodist. But life for Wilma wasn't always as carefree as it is today.

"It started on my leg," she says. "Then it was all over my body. It was humiliating."

Wilma has psoriasis.

"It was red and scaly and very bothersome," she explains.

15 years ago the scaley, red skin disease just appeared all over her body. She went to the doctor and learned more than 4 million people have psoriasis, and there' s no cure.

"I thought I was going to have to go to my grave with psoriasis. I didn't know if I would ever get rid of it."

But a few months ago Wilma's doctor at Dermatology Associates in Tyler suggested she try a new laser treatment to manage her psoriasis.

"It's one of the closest things we've come to for a cure," says Dr. Brad Graham. "We are targeting with the laser the most specific wavelength of light we are able to clear up the spots on the patients body and give them a long lasting remission."

Today Wilma's psoriasis is hardly noticeable.

"I can wear short sleeves or shorts if I wanted to, which I couldn't do before."

The UVB and Eximer Laser treatments take about 16 weeks. Wilma said it was just like laying in the sun.

"It doesn't hurt. Well anything but your pocketbook," she says.

It can be pricey -- and not all insurance covers it, but Wilma says it was well worth the cost.

Dermatology Associates is also using another treatment for psoriasis called Amevive. It is an I-V injection. It attacks the white blood cells that cause psoriasis. It's only been available for about two months and it won't be effective for every patient. Doctors are hopeful though that at least one treatment either lasers, or the injection will help people with psoriasis.

Call Dermatology Associates at 534-6200.

Michelle Mortensen, reporting.