BACKGROUND: Psoriasis can be associated with unhealthy lifestyle behaviours such as smoking, excess alcohol use and insufficient physical activity, consequently increasing cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk. Health care practitioners are expected to discuss lifestyle risk factors with patients with a view to reducing health-related risk for patients. However, little is known about the techniques used to communicate information about risk to patients with psoriasis. PURPOSE: We aimed to examine how primary care practitioners communicate risk information when conducting CVD risk assessments. METHOD: Consultations (n = 44) between primary care practitioners (general practitioners and practice nurses) and patients with psoriasis across 10 practices were audio-recorded and analysed using content analysis. A coding frame was used to record specific techniques used by practitioners to communicate risk information. RESULTS: Most frequently used communication methods were verbal descriptors of risk factors accompanied by numerical data (n = 28) rather than verbal descriptors alone (n = 16). Practitioners did not use numerical risk communication methods alone. Where CVD risk factors were discussed with patients (n = 156 occasions across all consultations), interpretations of this information was provided to patients on 131 (84 %) occasions. However, specific advice about behaviour/risk modification was only given on 60 (38.5 %) out of a possible 156 occasions. CONCLUSIONS: Specific advice about how to change lifestyle behaviour to modify CVD risk factors was not always given by the practitioner, particularly when discussing behavioural risk factors. Developing a best practice for communicating complex health risk information would ensure that people with psoriasis are empowered to make lifestyle modifications to reduce CVD risk.