Before we talk about the psoriasis causes, let us talk about some statistic numbers. According to the WHO, up to 4 percent of all people suffer from psoriasis. This disease affects patients of all ages, but most often it affects young people aged 15 to 25. Psoriasis is very often observed in children and babies.
During the disease recurrence, the natural processes of the keratinocytes formation (cells which mainly form the human skin) are violated. There are also biochemical changes in the skin. Moreover, the scientists have recently found out that during the disease recurrence the nervous system functions are different from its normal state. In general, the main causes of psoriasis are the dysfunctions of the immune system.
As for the reasons for psoriasis of the skin, this disease is non-contagious and has a genetic predisposition. The European scientists have come to the conclusion that if one of the parents suffers from the disease, the probability of the child being ill is up to 14-25 percent. If both parents are sick, this probability is up to 60 percent.
So, What Causes Psoriasis?
Currently, the scientists still ask themselves: “What causes psoriasis?” for the reasons are not quite understood. We can only tell you about the most common assumptions.
Although psoriasis tends to be transmitted hereditarily, in general, this disease can be brought about by a number of factors. Anything can cause the failure of the immune system. So, the initiating agents are divided into the external and internal (or, in scientific terms, exogenous and endogenous).
These are divided into physical and chemical ones. The physical factors include usual physical damages of the skin such as household injuries, thermal burns, scars, tattoos, scratches, insect or pet bites. The X-rays and ultraviolet radiation may become the factors too. Quite often the disease occurs because of sunburns.
The chemical factors are connected with the toxic effect of harmful chemicals on the skin. Moreover, other skin diseases provoke psoriasis as well:
- mycotic lesions;
- impetigo contagiosa;
- herpes zoster;
- pyoderma gangrenosum;
- allergic dermatitis of different nature.
Infectious diseases can become the internal causes of psoriasis. The recent surveys show that streptococcal infections and HIV are the most common reasons of the disease. And quite often there are no symptoms during the disease itself. They can occur after a conventional vaccination. In these cases, psoriasis is quite difficult to treat.
Let’s now have a detailed look at the psoriasis types and the reasons why each of them affects people.
Scalp psoriasis is of no serious threat to human’s health but it often becomes a reason of psychological complexes and social exclusion because of the unaesthetic appearance of the patients. As for the specific scalp psoriasis cause, it is still being studied. Today, there are several theories of its origin. One of them divided the disease into two forms. The first one develops on the basis of the immune system failure caused by hereditary background. It usually appears before the age of 25.
The symptoms of the second type of psoriasis appear in the middle age group, at approximately 40 years and later. This form is much more common in the nail plates, joints, and it’s less frequent in the scalp.
The scientists who support the second theory suggest that the disease can only develop because of immune system disorders caused by various factors like:
- cold climate;
- drinking alcohol;
- infectious diseases;
Plaque Psoriasis (Vulgar Psoriasis)
Plaque Psoriasis (or vulgar psoriasis) is the most common form of the dermatological disease. According to medical statistics, the pathology is diagnosed in 80-90 percent of all cases of psoriasis.
In most cases, one can notice the disease by typical inflamed areas of skin which could be seen on the surface of the healthy skin. They are covered with a silver-white or grayish layer of tissue which is easily detachable. When this layer is removed, one may see red skin, which, as a rule, can be easily injured and can bleed because of the abundance of small vessels. These lesions are called psoriatic plaques. Quite often plaque psoriasis is mild, exacerbations are rare. In other cases, the disease becomes acute and the lesions occupy large areas.
At the moment, there is no hypothesis that fully explains the occurrence of plaque psoriasis. For this reason, the disease is classified as a multi-factorial dermatosis.
Here are the most popular theories of the disease causes:
- Hereditary cause. The disease is inherited by autosomal dominant or recessive characters.
- Metabolic cause. Psoriasis is a consequence of metabolic disorders. It is connected with the cholesterol, enzymes, DNA, RNA metabolism.
- Viruses. The results are taken from the experiments on rabbits.
- Endocrine cause. The patients often have various disorders of endocrine nature. This applies to the function of sexual glands and the pituitary-adrenal system.
- Neurogenic cause. Plaque psoriasis is the result of a psychological trauma.
The factors that create a favorable background for the development of the disease include:
- skin trauma;
- exposure to chemical factors;
- taking some medications that cause psoriasis (medicines for high blood pressure, thiazide diuretics, beta-blockers, immune stimulants, calcium antagonists used in the treatment of cardiovascular diseases, or antimalarial drugs).
Guttate psoriasis is a non-infectious skin disease. With this disease, one cannot predict the location of the new psoriasis outbreaks locations. As a result, it is very difficult to cure. Guttate psoriasis can occur anywhere of skin and at any age.
Among the reasons of guttate psoriasis are usually considered:
- genetic predisposition;
- neurological disorders;
- infectious diseases;
- viral antigens;
- hormonal disorders;
- immune system disorders, just like in the majority of cases of any type of psoriasis.
Inverse psoriasis is the type of the disease when the rashes are located in major natural body folds. It often occurs when a patient has endocrine diseases (diabetes, obesity, dysfunction of the thyroid).
Under the influence of irritating factors (exposure to the sun, autointoxication, physical impact on the skin, etc.) psoriasis may turn into erythrodermic psoriasis which is characterized by fever and red rash.
Erythrodermic psoriasis appears spontaneously when the size of inflamed areas increases. There are several possible reasons for that:
- wrong treatment at an advanced stage of the disease;
- exposure to intense ultraviolet light (natural or artificial);
- the use of specific drugs;
- coming off systemic corticosteroids and cytotoxic drugs.
Skin diseases are always a lot of troubles to the patient. Facial psoriasis can become a real psychological trauma! Facial psoriasis is an atypical form of the disease and it is quite rare. However, it is a chronic disease in which exacerbation periods alternate with periods of remission, with a duration from several months to several years.
The disease may be caused by the disorders of the immune and endocrine systems, metabolism disorders (mainly lipid metabolism), and stresses.
Psoriasis on hands and on feet
Psoriasis on hands and on feet is a chronic inflammatory disease that causes problems with a social adaptation of the patients who tend to develop complexes. Psoriasis on hands is not a threat to human life, but may be accompanied by severe complications. In particular, it affects the joints in the upper and lower extremities and leads to psoriatic arthritis.
Like in the rest of the cases, the most common triggering factors of the disease are:
- hereditary predisposition;
- pathological changes in the immune system;
- metabolic and hormonal disorders;
- physical effects on the skin;
- contact with aggressive substances (detergents, paints, powders, etc.);
- stress, emotional upsets, depression.
Can stress cause psoriasis?
Scientists still wonder: “Can stress cause psoriasis?” Psoriasis can occur at any age but now it tends to affect very young people. Excessive emotional and physical stress very often provokes the aggravation of the disease even quite a long period of time (a week or a month) after the stressful situation had happened. A stressful situation which leads to the aggravation may be an illness or death of relatives or loved ones, divorce or frequent conflicts in the family, loss or change of job, even catarrhal or viral diseases, as well as a sharp change of diet.
Dietary guidelines for patients with psoriasis may help to improve the metabolic processes in the organism and prevent the aggravation of skin reactions. The foods for patients with psoriasis must be chosen in accordance with certain principles. Foods that can cause allergy are determined for each patient individually. Some products must be excluded from the diet while others are obligatory to eat.
- avoid drinking alcohol;
- exclude fried, smoked and spicy food;
- eat less salt;
- exclude products containing preservatives, emulsifiers, food colorants, stabilizers, and other artificial additives;
- exclude citrus fruit (oranges, tangerines, lemons, limes, grapefruit);
- exclude easily digested carbohydrates (products containing flour, sugar);
- eat in small amounts 4-5 times per day;
- include cereals to the diet (buckwheat diet is very popular for psoriasis);
- use dairy products of a lowfat content;
- include vegetable oils to the daily diet.
Unfortunately, at the moment the medicine is unable to completely cure the disease. Though timely and professional treatment significantly improves the quality of life. You can fight the disease and have a normal life if you follow simple dietary rules and keep to your doctor’s prescriptions.