diagnosis of psoriasis

Psoriasis is a chronic autoimmune disorder that is characterized by an abnormally rapid growth of the epidermal layer of the skin. A person with Psoriasis usually has thick, red, scaly skin patches, also called plaques. These plaques are itchy and have well demarcated edges, on which there is a layer of silvery white scales. These common symptoms are often checked for during the diagnosis. They appear on the back, elbows, face and scalp. The exact cause of Psoriasis is still unknown but researchers theorize that both genetic and environmental factors can trigger the onset of Psoriasis that cause abnormal immune response of the body towards it’s own skin cells.

physical examination

Diagnosis is carried out by dermatologists who can identify Psoriasis patches by observing it’s pattern, size and shape and can therefore accurately diagnose the condition during a physical exam. Diagnosis of psoriasis is hugely based on the appearance of the skin. The most common type called Plaque psoriasis show dry and scaly patches of red skin that are itchy or painful. But Besides Plaque psoriasis, there are many other types of psoriasis such as the Whitish pus filled patches in Pustular psoriasis, Guttate psoriasis resulting in small skin lesions in the form of red drops and Inverse psoriasis causing smooth red patches that occurs mostly on the skin folds. Checking for severe dry skin, including dry scalp or dandruff, may also be used  for the diagnosis of Psoriasis. During the diagnosis, the doctor may also ask about the patient’s medical and family  history because having a family member suffering from Psoriasis increase the chances of you getting the disease.

skin biopsy

If the physical examination is not enough for a correct diagnosis, a skin biopsy is carried out to confirm the diagnosis. The area of the skin is first numbed by an anesthetic and then the doctor methodically pierces the skin and removes a small tissue sample. A pathologist then observes this extracted skin tissue under the microscope to look for any abnormal skin layers related to Psoriasis and accordingly confirms the diagnosis. A skin biopsy is also done to rule out other disorders such as Seborrheic dermatitis, eczema, ringworm, etc that show similar symptoms and may lead to incorrect diagnosis. The doctor will later start the treatment based on the diagnosis and the test result. 

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