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Plaque Psoriasis (cont.)

What Tests Do Health Care Professionals Use to Diagnose Plaque Psoriasis?

Usually dermatologists and most primary-care professionals are able to diagnose classical psoriasis on the basis of the appearance of the individual lesions, the tendency to form plaques, and the distribution of those plaques on the elbows, knees, and scalp. Psoriasis can affect one or all the nails of the fingers and toes, causing changes that resemble fungal infections. Psoriasis rarely involves the lips or mouth. Occasionally, atypical psoriasis may require a biopsy (a small piece of surgically removed involved skin) to be examined under the microscope to supplement the clinical evaluation. Blood tests are rarely helpful to confirm or support the diagnosis.

What Is the Medical Treatment for Plaque Psoriasis?

It must be remembered that psoriasis is a chronic health condition that is not curable in the usual sense. The disease is characterized by exacerbations and remissions that often seem to occur spontaneously. Patients often relate some incidental environmental event or psychological stress to changes in their disease's activity. This can complicate treatment.

Since psoriasis is incurable, doctors treat the condition to enhance the patient's sense of well-being and independence. Treatment options are chosen that are appropriate to the severity of the condition. Mild, localized psoriasis is treated with topical therapy while more extensive, severe disease will require systemic, expensive, and potentially hazardous treatment.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 9/11/2017

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