Psoriasis and stress: A prospective study

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Abstract

Background

Psoriasis is generally thought to be worsened by stress. This presumption has been supported primarily by retrospective studies using questionnaires. No controlled prospective study on this issue has been performed.

Methods

Nine women with moderate plaque psoriasis were enrolled in the study. They all believed that their psoriasis was worsened by stress. They filled in a daily diary with estimations of actual stress levels and grades of psoriasis. The study of each patient started when her skin disease was in a stable phase and was concluded when her psoriasis was worsened by at least 25% from the starting level. Psoriasis area severity index scores were recorded at the start, as soon as possible after exacerbation and 2 weeks later. Stress-related blood samples were taken at the same visits. The study was analysed as a nine-case study.

Results

No clear pattern was found between stress levels and worsening of psoriasis in our nine patients. One patient had elevated stress levels 13 days before exacerbation of psoriasis, but for at least seven patients, there were no identifiable time relationships between stress and psoriasis appearance. For two patients, there were clear elevations of stress levels after psoriasis outbreak.

Conclusion

This limited study does not support the assumption that stress is a worsening factor in psoriasis.

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