0
We're unable to sign you in at this time. Please try again in a few minutes.
Retry
We were able to sign you in, but your subscription(s) could not be found. Please try again in a few minutes.
Retry
There may be a problem with your account. Please contact the AMA Service Center to resolve this issue.
Contact the AMA Service Center:
Telephone: 1 (800) 262-2350 or 1 (312) 670-7827  *   Email: subscriptions@jamanetwork.com
Error Message ......
JAMA Patient Page |

Psoriasis FREE

Janet M. Torpy, MD, Writer; Alison E. Burke, MA, Illustrator; Robert M. Golub, MD, Editor
JAMA. 2011;306(8):896. doi:10.1001/jama.2011.1162.
Text Size: A A A
Published online

Psoriasis is a common skin disease that affects more than 7 million people in the United States. Patients usually have red, scaly, small to large raised areas of skin (called plaques). These commonly affect the scalp, trunk, elbows, knees, and genital areas but can affect any part of the body, including the nails. About a quarter of patients develop pain, stiffness, and swelling in their joints (psoriatic arthritis). Patients with severe psoriasis may have an increased risk of obesity, diabetes, high cholesterol, and cardiovascular disease. Psoriasis also increases risk of depression.

Psoriasis is a genetic-based (inherited) disease that affects the body's immune system. Infections, stress, alcohol, and some medications may worsen the disease. Psoriasis is not contagious. The August 24/31, 2011, issue of JAMA includes an article about medications used to treat psoriasis. This Patient Page is based on one published in the December 17, 2003, issue of JAMA.  

DETERMINING IF YOU HAVE PSORIASIS

Psoriasis is usually relatively straightforward to diagnose because of the very typical appearance of the red, scaly plaques. Occasionally, a small sample (biopsy) of skin may be needed to help diagnose the condition. Psoriasis is a disease that can improve and worsen over time, but it usually does not go away completely. Treating psoriasis can improve the skin and may improve quality of life. Dermatologists are doctors with specialized training in treating diseases of the skin and nails, including psoriasis.  

PSORIASIS TREATMENT OPTIONS

  • Topical treatments (on the surface of the skin), including corticosteroid creams (to reduce inflammation) or vitamin D preparations

  • Phototherapy (treatment with light) in specially equipped ultraviolet light machines

  • Systemic medications, including oral (by mouth) or injected medications that act on the whole body


Individuals with psoriasis should take care not to injure their skin or nails. Although light therapy is often an important part of psoriasis treatment, sunburn should be avoided because it can make psoriasis worse and increases the risk of skin cancer. Your doctor needs to individualize your treatments for psoriasis because the disease may affect you in many ways.

FOR MORE INFORMATION

INFORM YOURSELF

To find this and previous JAMA Patient Pages, go to the Patient Page Index on JAMA's Web site at www.jama.com. Many are available in English and Spanish.

Sources: National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases, American Academy of Dermatology, National Psoriasis Foundation

Topic: SKIN DISEASES

The JAMA Patient Page is a public service of JAMA. The information and recommendations appearing on this page are appropriate in most instances, but they are not a substitute for medical diagnosis. For specific information concerning your personal medical condition, JAMA suggests that you consult your physician. This page may be photocopied noncommercially by physicians and other health care professionals to share with patients. To purchase bulk reprints, call 312/464-0776.

Tables

References

CME
Meets CME requirements for:
Browse CME for all U.S. States
Accreditation Information
The American Medical Association is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education to provide continuing medical education for physicians. The AMA designates this journal-based CME activity for a maximum of 1 AMA PRA Category 1 CreditTM per course. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity. Physicians who complete the CME course and score at least 80% correct on the quiz are eligible for AMA PRA Category 1 CreditTM.
Note: You must get at least of the answers correct to pass this quiz.
You have not filled in all the answers to complete this quiz
The following questions were not answered:
Sorry, you have unsuccessfully completed this CME quiz with a score of
The following questions were not answered correctly:
Commitment to Change (optional):
Indicate what change(s) you will implement in your practice, if any, based on this CME course.
Your quiz results:
The filled radio buttons indicate your responses. The preferred responses are highlighted
For CME Course: A Proposed Model for Initial Assessment and Management of Acute Heart Failure Syndromes
Indicate what changes(s) you will implement in your practice, if any, based on this CME course.

Multimedia

Spanish Patient Pages
Supplemental Content

Some tools below are only available to our subscribers or users with an online account.

Related Content

Customize your page view by dragging & repositioning the boxes below.

Articles Related By Topic
Related Collections
PubMed Articles