Mayo Clinic: Is there any way to know what causes psoriasis?
What’s the best way to treat it?
Psoriasis has a tendency to run in families, and exacerbations
often are linked to the body’s immune system responding to
certain internal or external factors. The exact cause of
psoriasis is not easy to determine. Treatment depends on how
severe the psoriasis is and how responsive it has been to
previous treatment. Treatment usually starts with mild
approaches and proceeds to stronger remedies but only as they
is a skin disease that affects the life cycle of skin cells.
Normal skin grows and sheds every 28 days, or about once a
month. Psoriasis skin regenerates every 72 hours. When the
immune system becomes activated and attacks the skin cells,
psoriasis causes the cells to build up rapidly on the skin’s
surface. Because the body cannot shed skin that quickly, a
callous forms on the skin. The result is thick, silvery or
white scales, and dry, red skin patches that can be itchy and
seems to have a genetic component, but it can occur in people
who do not have any family members with the disease. Many
people who are predisposed to psoriasis may be free of
symptoms for years until the disease is triggered by some
common trigger for psoriasis is stress. That can mean physical
stress from illness, fatigue or sleep deprivation, or
emotional stress due to a difficult life event, such as the
death of a family member or loss of a job. In some cases, a
high level of stress may spark a dramatic psoriasis outbreak,
with skin appearing normal one day and then developing
multiple patches of psoriasis all over the body several days
factors that can raise the risk of psoriasis outbreaks include
being overweight, smoking and exposure to secondhand smoke.
These factors not only can trigger psoriasis, but also they
can make the disease harder to treat.
variety of treatment choices are available that may manage
symptoms and decrease flare-ups. In mild to moderate cases,
treatment usually starts with creams and ointments used alone.
In more severe cases, light therapy combined with topical
treatment can be useful. Unfortunately, there isn’t a cure
that is severe or doesn’t respond to other treatments may
require oral or injected medications (systemic treatment).
These medications can have serious side effects, however.
Ideally, they are used only for limited periods of time.
treating psoriasis can be challenging. What works for one
person might not work for another. Treatments may be effective
for a while. Then, the body builds up resistance to them, and
they no longer work. Psoriasis also can be unpredictable,
going through cycles of improvement and worsening, seemingly
these challenges, it is important for you to continue with
treatment and find one that works for you. If left untreated,
psoriasis can lead to, or intensify, other medical problems,
such as arthritis and heart disease.
are being treated for psoriasis, but it persists, or if you
are having uncomfortable side effects from treatment, talk to
your health care provider about other options. He or she can
help you develop a treatment plan or change your current
treatment approach to best control your symptoms.