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Diagnostic Tests for Psoriasis

Psoriasis is a very common autoimmune disease that drastically impacts the natural life cycle of human skin cells. This skin condition causes cells to build up quickly on the outermost layer of the skin. The most common indications of psoriasis include red patches of skin that are itchy, dry, and painful, as well as these silvery scales.

For most cases, psoriasis can be diagnosed fairly easily. The following diagnostic tests can all be used to diagnose this common autoimmune disease:

  • Physical Examination: Most doctors will be able to diagnose psoriasis by taking note of a patient’s medical history and conducting an examination of their skin, nails, and scalp.
  • Skin Biopsy: In some rare cases, your doctor may have to take a small sample of skin tissue (this is called a biopsy). This sample will be examined underneath a microscope in order to determine the specific type of psoriasis, as well as rule out other possible diseases.

Conditions which can Look Like Psoriasis

There are a number of other medical conditions which could produce symptoms that are similar to psoriasis. These mimicking conditions can include:

  • Lichen Planus: This is an inflammatory disorder that causes itchy skin. Indications of lichen planus include rows of itchy, flat-topped bumps or lesions on the legs and arms.
  • Seborrheic Dermatitis: This form of dermatitis is associated with scaly, greasy, itchy, red skin. In most cases, this condition develops in the oilier parts of the body (the face, back, and upper chest). This medical condition can also develop on the patient’s scalp in the form of chronic dandruff.
  • Pityriasis Rosea: This also happens to be a common type of skin condition, which is why it may be confused with psoriasis often. It usually starts out as this large spot (often called a herald patch) on the patient’s abdomen, chest, or back. Eventually, the rash will begin to spread across the body, but they usually look like the drooping branches of a pine tree. Most cases of pityriasis rosea usually clear up within two months.
  • Tinea Corporis (ringworm of the body): This medical condition is caused by a fungal infection of the top layer of skin. Eventually, the infection produces a scaly, red rash in the form of a ring or circle.

If you believe that you may be experiencing the symptoms of psoriasis, then it is time to make an appointment with your doctor. There is no cure, but psoriasis can be treated and managed effectively. Be sure to explain all of your symptoms to your doctor, as this will help ensure the most accurate diagnosis.