Psoriasis is a chronic condition that produces severe skin rash and red scaly patches on the skin. Psoriasis often affects the skin of the scalp, elbows, knees, and lower back. Recent studies show that psoriasis may be a hereditary (genetic) autoimmune disease.

Psoriatic rash tends to flare up in response to triggers, such as stress, strep infection, and the use of certain medications. Psoriasis can lead to arthritis, which is called psoriatic arthritis. Depending on the type and severity of the condition, psoriasis treatment may involve antibiotics, prescribed sun exposure, artificial ultraviolet light exposure, corticosteroids, or other topical or oral medications.

Here are some questions to ask your doctor (e.g., dermatologist) about psoriasis. Print this page, check off the questions you would like answered, and take it with you to your doctor appointment. The more you know about psoriasis and psoriasis remedies, the easier it is to make important decisions concerning your medical care.

Questions to Ask Your Doctor about Psoriasis

  • How will my skin condition be diagnosed?
  • Is there a cure for psoriasis?
  • What do you suspect is the cause of my psoriasis? Why do you suspect this cause?
  • What factors may trigger or worsen my psoriasis?
  • How can I help prevent a psoriasis flare-up or lessen the severity of a flare-up?
  • What kinds of medications can cause my psoriasis to flare up?
  • How should I deal with sun exposure? Should I protect my skin from the sun?
  • What do you recommend for the treatment of my psoriasis?
  • Why do you recommend this treatment?
  • What are the benefits, risks, and possible complications of this treatment?
  • How will my psoriasis be monitored?
  • How will I know if the treatment is working?
  • What are the most common side effects related to this treatment?
  • What should I do if my condition worsens or I experience serious side effects?
    Telephone number to call:
  • If this treatment is not effective, what are my other options?
  • What are the risks, benefits, and possible complications of these other treatment options?
  • Might changing my diet help my psoriasis symptoms and limit flare-ups?
  • Should I keep a journal to help me identify possible triggers?
  • Can I help reduce the risk for developing psoriatic arthritis? If so, how?
  • Can you recommend a local or online support group for patients who have psoriasis or resources for additional information?
  • Do you recommend that I participate in a clinical trial for patients who have psoriasis? Why or why not?

Publication Review By: Stanley J. Swierzewski, III, M.D.

Published: 10 Apr 2009

Last Modified: 01 Oct 2015