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Psoriasis – Causes & Risk Factors

Causes of Psoriasis:

Experts still can’t predictably find out the causes of psoriasis, though they know at large that it is an immune triggered reaction.  Most of them have different opinions on how psoriasis is caused. Few believe that the faulty epidermis and excessive reproduction of the skin cells is the underlying reason for psoriasis.

The other hypothesis is that it is a result of an aggravated immune reaction or autoimmune response. In this the cells meant for protecting us from foreign bodies and pathogens mistake a normal or good substance for a pathogen, and attack it. This leads to host of follow up reactions including inflammation and damage of good cells. This response is usually initiated when the immune cells fail to distinguish between good cells and bad cells.

In this diseases, T cells, which are one type of immune cells, attack healthy skin cells because of lack of differentiation between the healthy and invading pathogens. These T-cells then migrate to the dermis (inner/deeper layer of skin) and trigger the release of cytokines like in particular tumour necrosis factor-alpha (TNFα). TNFα is responsible for production of skin cells, as well as inflammation.

Risk factors of Psoriasis:

A risk factor is defined as feature, attribute, characteristic or exposure of an individual that increases the likelihood of developing a disease or injury.

  • Family History: Any individual, who has any relative or family member diagnosed with it, has higher risk of developing psoriasis and the chances usually increase to around 30% more. Genetic makeup of an individual, especially having 3 genes namely  SLC9A3R1, NAT9 and RAPTOR, which have been associated with the diseases, further increase the risk.
  • HIV: HIV Patients have increased likelihood of developing the disease because of a compromised immune system.
  • Stress: Anything that put effect on the immune system would increases the chances of developing psoriasis. Stress generates lots of oxygen free radicals and does act as a big challenge to immune system, thereby acting as a risk factor.
  • Obesity: Obese people are definitely at risk and are more likely to develop plagues in the skin folds and creases.
  • Tobacco Smoking: Tabacco is cancerous and increases the risk as well as severity of psoriasis.

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