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June 17, 2019

Possible causes of psoriasis

Psoriasis in Berlin | Weißensee Skin CenterIt is estimated that 125 million people around the world suffer from psoriasis. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), psoriasis is one of the most serious non-contagious diseases. Even if the disease cannot be cured, it can still be treated well. For the treatment of psoriasis in Berlin various options are available. The exact therapy is adapted to the patient and their individual requirements. The causes or triggers for the psoriasis disease also play an important role. When and for what reasons does psoriasis occur? What treatments help to alleviate the symptoms and discomfort?

(Image: © Ban – Fotolia.com)

What are the possible causes of psoriasis?

As psoriasis is a non-infectious disease, neither bacteria nor viruses, parasites or fungi are possible causes. Instead, there is a faulty reaction process in the body’s own immune system. Although the skin itself is healthy, it forms new skin cells very quickly in the case of psoriasis. The skin cells that form too quickly die off, resulting in the characteristic silvery, scaly appearance. At the same time, an inflammatory process occurs, causing the skin to become very red. A genetic predisposition is therefore assumed to be the cause of psoriasis. In addition, there are various stimuli that can trigger a psoriasis flare-up.

State of research into the causes of psoriasis

The exact causes of psoriasis have not yet been clearly described. The disease was first mentioned by Hippocrates in 460 BC – since then, medicine has been trying to unravel the mystery of its origin. Even if this has not yet been 100 percent successful, some triggers and processes are now known. Modern methods can be used to observe what is going on in the skin with psoriasis. Various treatment methods can be derived from this in order to contain the disease.

In psoriasis, a stimulus triggers an inflammatory reaction in the body. Inflammation is actually very important for health. Among other things, the immune system uses them to fight harmful invaders. In the case of psoriasis, however, there is a faulty immune response, as the inflammation occurs for no “real” reason. In an attempt to heal the inflammation, the skin cells multiply at an atypical rate. Normally, skin renewal takes between 24 and 28 days; in the case of psoriasis, new skin cells develop within a few days. As a result, numerous immature skin cells accumulate on the surface of the skin and die off again. This causes dandruff.

The cause of psoriasis is therefore a genetic predisposition, which does not necessarily lead to the onset of the disease in every case. There are also triggers and risk factors that contribute to the development of the disease and can also cause the disease to worsen.

Risk factors that can trigger psoriasis

The predisposition to psoriasis in the genetic code alone does not lead to the onset of the disease. There are always external or internal factors that trigger the appearance of silvery skin flakes and the typical inflammation of the skin. Psoriasis also progresses in relapses. This means that for every outbreak of the disease there is a risk factor – usually a combination of several factors – but there are also phases with few or no symptoms.

Possible triggers include the following:

  • Injuries to the skin (e.g. scratches, burns)
  • Psychological stress (e.g. work-related stress, separation, loss of a relative)
  • Infections
  • hormonal fluctuations (e.g. during puberty, pregnancy or the menopause)
  • Taking certain medications (e.g. with active ingredients for depression or high blood pressure)
  • Overweight (obesity)
  • Excessive alcohol consumption
  • Interaction of stress and psoriasis

    Psoriasis sufferers often find themselves in a vicious circle: psoriasis often leads to psychological stress, and stress in turn is one of the risk factors that trigger the disease and exacerbate symptoms. In particular, the social stigmatization caused by the visible changes on the skin cause inner anxiety and fear in many of those affected. Psoriasis patients often have the feeling that their fellow human beings avoid them because of the skin inflammation, even though the disease is not contagious. The supposed helplessness in the face of relapses also often manifests itself in stress. Long-term psychological stress has been shown to increase inflammatory markers in the blood. Doctors therefore assume that there is an interaction between stress and psoriasis. In some cases, psoriasis therefore has severe psychological effects and secondary illnesses such as depression. Targeted stress management and individual and group therapies can help those affected to break out of the spiral.

    Treatment options for psoriasis – from coping with stress to taking medication

    There is no universal psoriasis treatment, but various measures that can be applied depending on the individual condition. Stress plays a major role for many patients, which is why relaxation exercises and behavioral tips are often integrated into the therapy. Learning to live with the disease is an essential aspect that experts are happy to help with. There is also so-called local therapy. These are active ingredients that are applied to the skin to alleviate the symptoms. Systemic treatment with medication is also possible. Light and phototherapy can also help with large areas of psoriasis. The experienced specialist will examine which therapies are best suited to the specific case in an individual consultation with the patient.

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