Psoriasis is an acute, autoimmune disease that afflicts the skin. Psoriasis occurs when the immune system sends out error signals to the brain to produce more skin cells resulting in itchy inflamed areas on the skin. With no sure cure, psoriasis can only be controlled by medication and lifestyle changes. However, it is not contagious in any form. Mostly a genetic condition, scientists believe that at least 10 percent of the general population has psoriasis-causing genes but only 2 or 3 percent contract the disease. A disease that can be debilitating for life, it is only apt that you should read further to learn more about psoriasis and what causes it.
Here are the 3 main causes of psoriasis.
1. Genetic Causes:
Psoriasis is a dry scaly skin disorder accompanied by intense burning and itching, generally caused by the immune system being triggered into producing more skin cells than the usual amount needed to replace dead skin cells. Under normal circumstances, skin cells take around 21-28 days to replace themselves. However, in psoriasis new skin cells regenerate in 2-3 days, resulting in both dead and live skin cells accumulating on the skin surface. This causes red, dry and flaky skin, accompanied by a constant itching and burning sensation.
Though the exact cause is unknown, scientists have strong reasons to believe that genetic flaws have a significant part to play in the cause of this disease. Scientists have in fact identified 25 genetic variants that may cause an individual to be more susceptible to developing psoriasis. Researchers at the University of Michigan lead by Dr. J.T Elder have identified several areas in the human genetic system where one or more genes may be the cause of psoriasis. Dr. Wilson Liao from the University of California-San Francisco is using the newest genetic sequencing technology to identify rare genes that act as a trigger to cause psoriasis in certain individuals. Psoriasis can lie dormant in the body due to its genetic nature which makes this the most worrisome cause of psoriasis. However, there are certain external triggers that may cause it to show up. Read below to know further.
2. External Triggers for Psoriasis:
There have been a fair amount of reported cases of psoriasis outbreaks in people with extremely stressful lifestyles and also clinical studies have led experts in this disease to believe that psoriasis can be triggered by extreme stress or stress can even aggravate existing psoriasis conditions.
b. Injury to Skin:
Psoriasis often occurs when the skin membrane has been compromised or in simpler terms when there has been injury to the skin. The constant itching and dry flakiness around a wound that is beginning to dry could be the first signs of psoriasis. This is called the Koebner effect. Vaccination, sunburn and scratches can all trigger the Koebner effect. The Koebner response can be effectively treated if it is detected on time.
[ Read: White Spot on Skin ]
3. Medications that may trigger Psoriasis:
Used to treat mental ailments such as manic depression and other disorders, lithium is known to aggravate psoriasis in about 50 percent of those with psoriasis who take it.
Plaquenil, Quinacrine, Chloroquine and Hydroxychloroquine which are all common drugs used to treat malaria, have been known to trigger a flare up of psoriasis about two to three weeks after they have been taken.
This commonly used medication to control high blood pressure has been known to worsen symptoms of psoriasis in patients who take it. It is not known if all drugs for high blood pressure worsen psoriasis but doctors agree that there could be a connection between the two that they are still to get to the root of.
This heart medication is known to worsen the symptoms of psoriasis.
This non-steroidal drug used to treat arthritis has been known to worsen pre-existing cases of psoriasis.
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