Around 7.5 million Americans have psoriasis, making it the most common autoimmune disease in the country.

Doctors are continuing to increase awareness, especially about how psoriasis can affect other organs too.

News Ten’s Megan Kelly explains in a story you’ll see only on Ten.

Red, Itchy, plaque.

Psoriasis not only affects a person’s appearance and mentality, but other parts of the body as well.

“Unfortunately it lasts for decades. The longer the psoriasis lasts, because it’s an inflammatory disease of the whole body we will start to see others problems show up.”

Dermatologist Dr. Christopher Hubbell with Hubbell Dermatology and Aesthetics of Lafayette says one of the more common problems associated with psoriasis is psoriatic arthritis – with symptoms of joint paint, stiffness and swelling.

The autoimmune disease also puts people at a higher risk for other diseases such as heart disease, fatty liver disease and kidney disease.

But doctors say treatments have improved over the years with medications providing a more targeted approach.

“The oral medications now are much more targeted which means they’re more effective with less side effects. i’m encouraged by that. Some of the medicines in the past where really very harsh. They were less targeted and had a lot more problems with co-lateral damage possibly.”

Other treatments include topical creams, phototherapy and even homeopathic treatments.

Dr. hubbell says dermatologists have to be sensitive with patients who have psoriasis because oftentimes, the disease is painful, can cause mental anguish and be disabling.

“We want people to know they don’t have to suffer in silence. seek out the dermatologist and see what they can help you with.”