Written by: Jonine Möller, M.Sc. in Sport Science
Psoriasis is a chronic (life-long) autoimmune skin condition that mostly presents in adults. It is also classified as a systemic inflammatory disease. While psoriasis has been linked to environmental triggers such as stress, infections, and certain medications, research has also shown that there is a significant genetic component to the development of this condition.
Psoriasis causes thick, scaly skin patches that can be itchy, painful, and embarrassing. Psoriasis mainly presents on the skin but has many phenotypical subtypes, meaning its presentation may vary. Since it is a systemic inflammatory disease, it is also associated with liver, cardiovascular, and psychological diseases.
Studies have shown that psoriasis is often inherited, meaning that if one or both parents have psoriasis, their children are more likely to develop it. This suggests that there is a strong genetic component to the development of psoriasis. numerous genes have been identified that are associated with psoriasis, and research has shown that mutations and common variations in these genes can increase the risk of developing the condition.
How This Information Impacts Treatment
The genetic component of psoriasis is great, but a lot can be done to manage the condition by tailoring your lifestyle. A genetic predisposition to the condition may necessitate more aggressive treatment and care to avoid environmental and lifestyle triggers contributing to psoriasis's development.
Factors that may trigger and exacerbate the disease:
- The metabolic syndrome
- Stress (mental and mechanical)
- Air pollution
Medications can also trigger psoriasis. The following withhold the most risk:
- Lithium-containing medicines
- Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs
Treating psoriasis may thus entail more and deeper attention than targeting the skin itself. In other words, treatment may involve systemic medications and lifestyle changes to help manage the underlying causes of psoriasis. However, psoriasis treatment may still involve topical creams and ointments to reduce skin itching and inflammation.
In conclusion, while genes play a significant role in developing psoriasis, a lot can be done to minimize the contributing environmental triggers. Understanding the role of genes in psoriasis can help healthcare providers tailor treatment options to meet the specific needs of each individual. By understanding the genetic factors involved in psoriasis, we can develop more effective treatments and improve the quality of life for those affected by this condition.
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