Last updated: May 14, 2009
1. What percentage of Americans has psoriasis?


Unknown. The prevalence of psoriasis is often cited as being around 2%, but that figure could be far higher (or lower), since the prevalence estimates for the disorder are notoriously rough and the data is thin.

A Healthy Diet for Psoriasis?
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2. Some forms of psoriasis are contagious.

False. Psoriasis is a hereditary autoimmune disorder, not an infectious skin disease, and it cannot be transmitted through contact. Unfortunately, misinformation surrounding the disease may lead some to worry that it is contagious, which explains in part the stigma that can accompany the condition.

3. Which of the following has been shown to trigger psoriasis?

All of the above. Although psoriasis is a hereditary disorder, it is usually triggered by one or more environmental factors. In addition to those listed, medications such as lithium and antimalarial drugs and infections such as strep throat can also trigger or exacerbate psoriasis.

4. The severity of psoriasis is determined by the percentage of body area it covers.

False.Although dermatologists (and insurers) have traditionally considered psoriasis that covers 20% or more of the body severe, dermatologists may take into account factors such as the location of the lesions and the impact the disorder has on a patients life when gauging the severity of psoriasis and the appropriate treatment.

5. Eating a healthy diet may reduce psoriasis symptoms.

True.Although there is no tried-and-true miracle diet for psoriasis, some psoriasis patients report that an antioxidant-rich diet that emphasizes fish, fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and beans helps control their psoriasis. Obese people are more susceptible to psoriasis, which suggests that losing weight may also help.

6. Which of the following is believed to help psoriasis?

All of the above.Stress has been shown to trigger psoriasis flare-ups. Although there is no research definitively proving that lowering stress can improve psoriasis, patients and experts report that regular exercise and other stress-busters help them manage their symptoms.

7. The best way to treat psoriasis lesions with sunlight is:

Short, daily sunbathing sessions.According to the National Psoriasis Foundation, consistent yet brief sun exposure improves the symptoms of 80% of patients with plaque psoriasis. Psoriasis patients should use sunscreen of SPF 15 or higher on the parts of their bodies that arent affected by lesions, reapplying frequently. People with psoriasis should avoid sunburn at all costs, as sunburns can exacerbate the disorder.

8. There is no cure for psoriasis.

True.There is no cure for psoriasis. The treatments for managing the disorder continue to improve, however, and the National Psoriasis Foundation has made finding a cure for psoriasis the organizations top priority.