The exact causes of psoriasis (pronounced suh-rahy-uh-sis) are still unknown but the important players have already been well-studied. For anyone hoping to understand what causes psoriasis, there are several key concepts and important triggers to keep in mind.
Family Ties: The Genetic Link to Psoriasis
Genetics play an important role in the health and development of the body. While some diseases are due entirely to inheriting certain genes, most disorders are the result of a genetic predisposition and environmental factors that support the development of the disorder. As a result, not everyone with genes for a disorder will develop it but they are more prone to it.
Although it’s not true to say that a genetic predisposition for psoriasis causes the disease, more than one-third of people who develop this skin disorder have at least one family member with the same condition. This strongly suggests that at least the tendency to develop psoriasis is inherited. A specific gene related to any psoriasis causes has yet to be identified. At this time, however, simply knowing a family member has psoriasis causes less difficulty for assessing your risk or making a diagnosis.
When Good Guys go Bad: The Autoimmune Link to Psoriasis
The immune system is essential for fighting off invading infections and often makes use of inflammation as a potent weapon in such attacks. At times, however, this vital defense system becomes unregulated and starts attacking healthy tissues instead of invading organisms. Although the reason this happens is not fully understood, this improper immune functioning is at the heart of a number of so-called autoimmune and autoinflammatory diseases.
While some researchers believe it may actually be autoinflammatory, psoriasis is most commonly described as an autoimmune disease. These details remain to be worked out by scientists and may lead to the development of highly targeted treatments in the future. In the meantime, anyone suffering from this disorder can rest assured that treatments aimed at suppressing the immune system are highly effective in controlling the symptoms of psoriasis.
Blame it on The Rain: The Many Triggers of Psoriasis
Although it is a chronic disease that may continue indefinitely if left untreated, psoriasis causes periodic worsening and improvement of symptoms in most people. Normally, the first ‘attack’ of psoriasis occurs during the late teens or early 50s. It is exceedingly rare to develop psoriasis for the first time in any other age group.
The first attack of psoriasis causes some confusion as it is most often preceded by extreme stress or illness, making the relationship between the illness and the skin condition sometimes unclear. These can continue to be triggers for later attacks however a number of other environmental factors can also become psoriasis causes.
Common triggers and psoriasis causes
- Excess alcohol consumption: anyone suffering from psoriasis should keep alcohol consumption to a minimum.
- Cigarette smoke: anyone who suffers from psoriasis should stop smoking. In some cases, this is sufficient to prevent further attacks or at least make the symptoms less severe.
- Weather changes: psoriasis attacks seem to flare up more often in cold weather. For some people though, hot weather is a more potent trigger.
It is worth noting that damage to the skin can also lead to the development of a psoriatic spot. Known as Koebner’s phenomenon, previously clear skin that is not prone to psoriasis can develop the characteristic red, flakey appearance with healing being what causes psoriasis.
Both Friend and Foe: Medicines That Act as Psoriasis Ccauses
A number of medications are associated with the onset of psoriasis attacks and making the symptoms of psoriasis worse. While some of these may easily be avoided or replaced with other options, certain medications may be essential and should be continued despite being causes of psoriasis symptoms. For this reason, it is important to talk with your health care provider about successfully managing both these medications and the symptoms of psoriasis.
Some medications that may act as causes of psoriasis
- Indomethacin: this is a type of non-streroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) that can usually be substituted by other pain pills in this class such as aspirin and ibuprofen.
- Inderal: this is a type of beta-blocker blood pressure medication. It is not yet clear if other drugs in this class are also causes of psoriasis.
- Lithium: this medication is used to help control the symptoms of some psychological problems such as mood disorders.
- Antimalarials: all drugs used to prevent and treat malaria are known causes of psoriasis. If you will be needing any of these medications, be sure to tell your doctor that you are concerned about what causes psoriasis.