Being given a formal diagnosis is an important step in determining the most suitable treatment option available to you. There are often many other skin conditions that can be mistaken for psoriasis. Your doctor can make a diagnosis and then help you treat the condition with the right medications.
In the vast majority of cases, you will initial be diagnosed with psoriasis by your GP. They will conduct a physical examination of the skin to determine if you have psoriasis. In some cases, a skin biopsy may be conducted, but is usually not necessary. There are no other tests that confirm whether you have psoriasis.
Your GP or Dermatologist may conduct full skin examination that includes examination of the scalp, nails, and anogenital skin to patients with suspected chronic plaque psoriasis.
You may also be asked questions about regarding whether there is a history of psoriasis withing the family and whether you have been exposed to any of the environmental or behavioural triggers that may induce or exacerbate psoriasis.
A skin biopsy may be performed if the diagnosis remains uncertain after the history and physical examination. Typically, a 4 mm punch biopsy from involved skin is performed, though a shave biopsy through the mid-dermis may also be adequate.
In order to distinguish psoriasis from a superficial fungal infection, your GP or Dermatologist, may conduct a periodic acid-Schiff-diastase (PAS-D) stain of the specimen.
It is highly recommended that if your GP does diagnose you with psoriasis that you ask to be referred to a dermatologist for more specialised care.
Psoriasis tends to have periods when it flares up and you will experience more symptoms, while at other times it may seem to be dormant and hence you will notice fewer symptoms. Unfortunately, there is no cure by psoriasis, but there are many different types of medications that can be used to treat your psoriasis that will allow you to potentially have clear or near clear skin.
Your doctor will discuss your medical history and conduct a physical examination, focusing on your skin, nails and scalp. It is possible that further tests may be required such as a biopsy to assist with diagnosis.