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Psoriasis Causes

What are the causes of Psoriasis

December 5, 2023

Psoriasis is a common skin condition that affects 2-3% of the global population. While there are treatment options available to help manage psoriasis, understanding the causes of psoriasis is important as well.

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Psoriasis is an immune-mediated skin condition characterized by raised, scaly patches on the skin, which are often itchy and painful. The symptoms of psoriasis can range from mild to severe, affecting various parts of the body such as the knees, elbows and scalp. Systemic inflammation caused by psoriasis increases the risk for other health problems, including diabetes, depression and metabolic diseases.

This persistent skin disorder impacts approximately 2-3% of the global population. Although the exact cause of psoriasis remains unknown, it is believed to be a result of a combination of genetic and environmental factors, along with a dysfunctional immune system response. Research has shown that various triggers may also cause or worsen the symptoms of psoriasis. Read on to learn more about the potential causes of psoriasis and other insights into the complex nature of this skin condition.

Types of Psoriasis

Psoriasis is a skin disease that may cause red, scaly skin that can feel painful, swollen or hot. There are different types of psoriasis that vary in their symptoms and triggers. Some common types of psoriasis include:

  • Plaque psoriasis: The most common type, characterized by itchy, raised patches of skin with a shiny, silvery top.
  • Guttate psoriasis: Causes small, pink or violet spots, typically on the torso, arms and legs.
  • Inverse psoriasis: Appears as smooth, bright red patches in areas where skin touches skin, like underarms or behind the knees.
  • Erythrodermic psoriasis: A rare but severe type that can make the skin appear intensely red and cause it to peel off in large pieces.
  • Pustular psoriasis: This type causes small, pus-filled blisters to appear on the skin, often accompanied by reddened, tender areas.

Each type of psoriasis has its own set of triggers and symptoms. Keep in mind that psoriasis is an autoimmune condition, meaning it is caused by an overactive immune system and can flare up unexpectedly. While there is currently no cure for psoriasis, managing symptoms and avoiding triggers may help improve quality of life.

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What Are The Causes of Psoriasis?

Psoriasis is a complex skin condition that may be triggered by an abnormal immune response. While the exact causes of psoriasis are not yet fully understood, various factors have been identified as potential triggers for this disease.

Although an individual can develop the condition even without a family history, genetic factors may play an important role in the development of psoriasis. Apart from genetics, several environmental factors and lifestyle choices have also been linked to psoriasis. Some common triggers may include:

  • Infections: Streptococcal infections, in particular, have been known to trigger psoriasis in some individuals.
  • Smoking: Tobacco use is another factor that may increase the risk of developing the condition.
  • Obesity: Excess body weight can also contribute to the onset of psoriasis due to the release of adipokines, chemicals from fat tissue that may trigger inflammation.
  • Stress: High levels of stress have been linked to worsen psoriasis symptoms.
  • Skin injury: Cuts, burns or other skin injuries can lead to what is known as the Koebner phenomenon in which psoriasis develops at the site of injury.
  • Weather: Cold, dry weather can aggravate the condition, leading to flare-ups.
  • Alcohol: Heavy alcohol consumption has been associated with an increased risk of psoriasis.
  • Smoking: Regular exposure to tobacco, either through active smoking or passive second-hand smoke, may trigger the onset of psoriasis or worsen existing symptoms.
  • Certain medications: Some drugs, like lithium, prednisone, and hydroxychloroquine, may trigger or worsen the symptoms of psoriasis.

These risk factors and triggers do not guarantee the onset of psoriasis but may increase the likelihood. There is no single factor believed to be the cause of psoriasis. Instead, most causes of psoriasis are due to a combination of genetic, immunological and environmental factors.