Psoriasis: Its Causes, Treatment and Genetics
Psoriasis is classified as a long-term skin disorder where the skin cells grow too quickly and result in the developing of thick, white or red patches of skin. Normally skin cells experience gradual growth and flake off after four weeks to be replaced by new growth of skin cells. However in psoriasis condition, the new cells grow and move too quickly up to the skin layers and form thick patches called plaques. It is most common in adults but may be observed in kids and teens too. It may be an embarrassing situation for many, especially teens, as they tend to avoid places where the patches may show.
Cause of Psoriasis
It is a common belief of the experts that psoriasis is caused when the skin flakes due to an over-reaction from the immune system. Psoriasis has been observed to run in families and research is still being carried out to determine the exact passing line of heredity. The skin condition of people affected with psoriasis may get worse in certain individuals with infections, dry skin, stress and a cold, dry climate causing the skin to flare up. Certain non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs also result in an outbreak of the psoriasis condition in individuals. Smoking has been observed to be a major cause, especially in women, for contracting psoriasis and causing a worsening of the psoriasis situation.
Genetics and Psoriasis
Psoriasis has a large hereditary connection with the association of many genes although it is unclear how these genes actually function together. Most of them are associated with the human immune system such as the MHC and T-cells. A full-scale genome linkage analysis has resulted in the discovery of nine locations on different chromosomes that are associated with psoriasis. Certain variations of the genes present in the chromosomes are commonly occurring in psoriasis conditions.
PSORS1, the major determinant has three genes that are strongly associated with the psoriasis condition: HLA-Cw6 for encoding a MHC class I protein, WWC for encoding a coiled protein that is over expressive in psoriatic dermatitis and the CDSM variant allele 5 that can encode corneodesmosin that gets expressed in the cornified and granular layers of the epidermis. Scans for a genome-wide association have thrown up the names of a large number of other gene varieties as well. IL12B on the chromosome 5q that expresses interleukin-12B and IL23R on the chromosome 1p expressing interleukin-23 receptor are two major genes that are under investigation for their involvement in T-cell differentiation which are involved in the inflammatory process that leads to psoriasis.Recent studies have suggested that a rare mutation in the genetic encoding for the protein CARD14 is the first gene that can be directly linked to psoriasis.
Diagnosis and treatment
The easiest way for a doctor to diagnose your psoriasis condition is by looking at the patchy developments on your nails, skin and scalp. In some cases, there may be the need for a skin KOH test is order to rule out the involvement of any fungal infection. Psoriasis is mostly a mild condition and begins with skin care treatments by using creams and lotions for moistening your skin. They are often coupled with other treatments such as shampoos, UV light and medications prescribed by an authorised physician. Treatment may be hard in some cases where you have to try out various combinations in order to determine the right one for you. In some cases, the treatment process may end up lasting for a lifetime.