Psoriasis

  • Medical Author:
    Gary W. Cole, MD, FAAD

    Dr. Cole is board certified in dermatology. He obtained his BA degree in bacteriology, his MA degree in microbiology, and his MD at the University of California, Los Angeles. He trained in dermatology at the University of Oregon, where he completed his residency.

  • Medical Editor: William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

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Quick GuidePsoriasis Rashes, Symptoms, Treatments

Psoriasis Rashes, Symptoms, Treatments

Eczema vs. psoriasis

Occasionally, it can be difficult to distinguish eczematous dermatitis from psoriasis. This is when a biopsy can be quite valuable to distinguish between the two conditions. Of note, both eczematous dermatitis and psoriasis often respond to similar treatments. Certain types of eczematous dermatitis (eczema) can be cured where this is not the case for psoriasis.

How many people have psoriasis?

Psoriasis is a fairly common skin condition and is estimated to affect approximately 1%-3% of the U.S. population. It currently affects roughly 7.5 million to 8.5 million people in the U.S. It is seen worldwide in about 125 million people. Interestingly, African Americans have about half the rate of psoriasis as Caucasians.

Is psoriasis contagious?

No. Research studies have not shown it to be contagious from person to person. A person cannot catch it from someone else, and one cannot pass it to anyone else by skin-to-skin contact. Directly touching someone with psoriasis every day will never transmit the condition.

Is there a cure for psoriasis?

No, psoriasis is not currently curable. However, it can go into remission and show no signs of disease. Ongoing research is actively making progress on finding better treatments and a possible cure in the future.

Is psoriasis hereditary?

Although psoriasis is not contagious from person to person, there is a known hereditary tendency. Therefore, family history is very helpful in making the diagnosis.

What kind of doctor treats psoriasis?

Dermatologists specialize in the diagnosis and treatment of psoriasis, and rheumatologists specialize in the treatment of joint disorders and psoriatic arthritis. Many kinds of physicians may treat psoriasis, including dermatologists, family physicians, internal medicine physicians, rheumatologists, and other medical doctors. Some patients have also seen other allied health professionals such as acupuncturists, holistic practitioners, chiropractors, and nutritionists.

The American Academy of Dermatology and the National Psoriasis Foundation are excellent sources to help find physicians who specialize in this disease. Not all dermatologists and rheumatologists treat psoriasis. The National Psoriasis Foundation has one of the most up-to-date databases of current psoriasis specialists.

It is now apparent that patients with psoriasis are prone to cardiovascular disease. It is very important for all patients with psoriasis to be carefully monitored by their primary-care providers for heart and blood vessel disease. The joint inflammation of psoriatic arthritis and its complications are frequently managed by rheumatologists.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 1/14/2016

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