What Causes Psoriasis?
Psoriasis is one of the illnesses that have been bothering mankind since time immemorial. This skin disorder is estimated to be affecting about 3% of the current global population. It is affecting young adults, old citizens, and even unborn infants. While many psoriasis patients develop the condition later on in their lives, in numerous cases, patients have the disorder all their lives. What causes psoriasis?
It is not surprising that the skin disorder is definitely one of the most misunderstood skin conditions. While in the Biblical times, the condition has been believed to be a milder variety of leprosy, Greeks knew it was different. They even coined a specific term for psoriasis—‘lepra,’ meaning ‘scaly skin condition.’ However, no significant effort in the past had been identified to explain what really causes psoriasis. To date, there are three identified possible causes of the condition, namely, genetics, the immune system, and environmental factors.
For quite some time, it has been believed that psoriasis is hereditary in nature. Thus, it could only be passed through heredity, and not through skin contact. This is the reason why the skin disorder is not communicable or infectious in any way.
Several research efforts have found that there are actually nine genetic mutations that possibly lead to the onset of psoriasis. Included in those mutations is the one called PSORS-1 on chromosome 6. This is scientifically identified as the most likely genetic cause of the skin condition. This type of mutation is identified as affecting skin cells production in specific parts of the body.
The immune system
You know that the immune system is responsible for protecting the human body against microorganisms that cause diseases. In its normal function, the immune system produces white blood cells that create antibodies, which in turn combat viruses and bacteria. When special types of white blood cells, called T-cells, are produced more than normal, psoriasis occurs.
Such T-cells attack and invade skin cells. In the process, the natural skin cells are forced to multiply in an abnormally rapid rate that they stack up on skin surface. Normal skin cells are then formed. Those cells mature and slough off at least on the average of 30 days. In the case of plaque psoriasis, formation of skin patches, the skin is subjected to the entire process in just 3 to 6 days.
A proof that psoriasis is caused by an abnormal function of the immune system is the observation that immune-suppressing treatments could effectively clear the skin disorder. In the end, genetic factors are still believed to trigger immune abnormalities that lead to psoriasis formation.
Believe it or not, several researches are pointing to the possibility that there are environmental triggers for the disorder. In general, it is believed that environmental factors prompt formation of psoriasis in persons who has gene mutations (mentioned above) and genetic factors. Weather, stress, skin injury, infection, and lack of vitamins are believed to lead to manifestation of the condition.
No matter what causes psoriasis, experts assert that the condition should not be taken as a curse. There are now treatments available to overcome the condition. It would also help to understand that it is not communicable. Thus, there is no need to isolate or ostracize people who are apparently affected by the disorder.