Take control of your GPP

Source: Boehringer Ingelheim

Our long-term partner, company Boehringer Ingelheim has updated and re-released the website GPP&Me just last week. Considering that the website includes many materials with downloadable options, we at EUROPSO thought it would be useful to share with with our psoriasis community. We have tried to put together the highlights from this resource, hoping it would be helpful for you or somebody you care about.

Understanding generalized pustular psoriasis (GPP)

Because GPP is rare, it can take time to find the right doctor. Not all doctors may be familiar with it. And if they recognise it, they still may need to do additional tests to confirm the diagnosis.

Some people may have to see several doctors before GPP is correctly diagnosed. In general, if you have widespread painful, pustules on your skin and have other symptoms like fever, joint pain, and extreme tiredness, you may have GPP.

A dermatologist (skin specialist) is the right doctor to diagnose GPP, but it may take a few visits. A doctor may refer you to another dermatologist who is an expert in GPP.

Once you find the right dermatologist, they may ask about your symptoms, medical history, and any family history of skin disease. They may also need to do blood tests or even look at a small piece of skin under a microscope, called a biopsy, to make the correct diagnosis and decide how best to help you.

Understanding flare triggers may help you manage your disease

A flare is when symptoms appear suddenly

Flares may start with the skin turning red and feeling tender, and then pus-filled blisters (pustules) can appear within hours. The blisters may join together, creating “lakes” of pus. 

Early signs of a flare

Remember how you felt before your last flare? Did your skin turn red and tender with pustules appearing within hours? Did the blisters or pustules combine to form “lakes” of pus? Did you have fever, joint pain, and extreme tiredness?

The next time you feel that way, or the way you felt as a flare occurred, contact your dermatologist right away.

Flares may be unpredictable

Your flares may not always show up the same way and they may appear anywhere on the body. You can’t predict when you may have a flare, or how severe it will be—it can happen any time, last for weeks, and take months to heal. Many patients experience continued symptoms between flares.

Common triggers

Recognising triggers can help manage your disease. Pay attention to how your body feels before a flare. You may have a general feeling of uneasiness, decreased appetite, and nausea before the pustules appear. The most common triggers for GPP flares are:

  • Infection
  • Stress
  • Pregnency
  • Starting or stopping some steroid medicines and pain relievers
  • Withdrawal of steroid treatment
  • Irritating skin creams or ointments
  • Too much sunlight

Helpful tips

If you feel a flare coming on, you may require medical care

Any flare can be serious and may require medical care and, in some cases, lead to hospitalisation. Although rare, complications from a flare can be life-threatening. If you feel a flare coming on, stay calm. Contact your dermatologist when you see or feel the first signs of a flare; they may prescribe a medication. You and your dermatologist may want to discuss the best procedure for ensuring you are seen in a timely fashion when you think you may be having a flare.

Carry information with you that contains your with general practitioner’s and your dermatologist’s contact details

This way, any healthcare provider can check with your dermatologist before treating you. It’s important to get the right treatment as soon as possible for the best results.

Proactively inform all your healthcare providers that you have GPP so they can give you the best care.

Hear from people living with GPP

GPP affects everyone differently. Learn from other people’s experiences with GPP and build your support network.

Visit this link to see other people’s stories and how is their life with GPP.

Featured image: Pixabay.com