It is important for everyone to know that psoriasis is not contagious in any way. But why do people develop this skin condition?
While scientists continue to be baffled about exactly what causes psoriasis, they confirm that it is linked to a problem with your immune system - your body's defence against germs.
If you have psoriasis, your immune system mistakenly attacks healthy skin cells, as if it were fighting an infection. Your body responds by making new skin cells every few days instead of the usual four weeks. Those new skin cells build up on your body's surface and form a rash.
High on the known list of causes is genetics
- A third of all sufferers will have a family history of psoriasis.
- If one parent has the condition, the odds for a child to develop the condition is one in four.
- If both parents have psoriasis, these chances increase to two out of their three children.
Other reasons why psoriasis occurs
- Psorisias can be triggered by throat infections especially a streptococci infection.
- Trauma or scratching can make the condition worse.
- Certain drugs can bring on psoriasis for the first time or, if the condition is already present, aggravate it. These include blood pressure meds (beta-blockers); NSAIDS (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) that are pain killers used to ease joint pain and swelling from psoriatic arthritis while also capable of triggering psoriasis flare-ups; and some mental health medications including Fluoxetine and Lithium.
- As in many other conditions, stress can play a big part with psoriasis being adversely affected in a stressful situation.
- While sunlight is often helpful for psoriasis sufferers, in up to twelve per cent of those with psoriasis they could find it becomes worse with too much sunshine - particularly if they are fair skinned.
- Excessive consumption of alcohol is not a good idea for those with psoriasis - it should be kept to a minimum.
- Smoking is of course extremely unhealthy for anyone but when psoriasis occurs on the hands and the feet, it can be adversely affected by smoking.
- A 2013 study published in the Dermato-Endocrinology Journal has linked autoimmunity, and therefore psoriasis, with a vitamin D deficiency.
Social drawbacks and impact of psoriasis
Many people with a mild form of this condition will be able to manage their lives without too much discomfort and inconvenience.
But problems can arise in the following situations:
- Where psoriasis appears on the face or the hands, it can be embarrassing for the person affected when dealing with others - even going as far as preventing them from doing their job.
- The level of itchiness can be very debilitating and uncomfortable, affecting the ability to sleep and the state of mind.
- Many of those with psoriasis (up to thirty per cent) will go on to suffer from psoriatic arthritis too.
There are many different forms of psoriasis but the most common are plaque and guttate. The condition can affect any part of the body but the most common areas are the elbows, knees, torso and scalp.
Psoriasis of the nails
Up to half of those with skin plaques will develop psoriasis of the nails too, making them look yellowish-red.
The nails may also crumble, become pitted or show grooved lines. Nearly everyone with psoriasis of the nails also has psoriasis somewhere on the skin.
We have shared previous information on psoriasis
Firstly, on the choice between drugs or natural remedies
for treating the symptoms of psoriasis.
Secondly, how psoriasis is an inflammatory condition
Thirdly, the use of phototherapy as one way to treat psoriasis.
Lasers are a new twist on phototherapy
. They send out highly focused beams of light. This lets doctors aim the treatment directly at the rash without affecting healthy skin.
Laser therapy may have fewer side effects and a smaller risk of skin cancer compared with traditional phototherapy.
For decades, people have claimed that visiting the Dead Sea in Israel is a powerful treatment for psoriasis. The sun and water (which is ten times saltier than the ocean) is widely believed to be a healing combination. And scientific evidence suggests this form of climatotherapy works. In studies, eighty per cent to ninety per cent of people with psoriasis improved after visiting the Dead Sea. Almost half saw their rash disappear for the next several months.
Sufferers can take comfort in the availability of natural and safe products to use for both psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis which can dramatically reduce the symptoms of the conditions and even control their outbreaks, making it unnecessary to resort to pharmaceutical medications and treatments.