Causes of Psoriasis
The causes of psoriasis are not yet fully understood, however, what is known is that causes of psoriasis are directly related to the immune system and genetics as well as environmental triggers.
Immune System Breakdown:
Ultimately, psoriasis results from a dysfunctional immune system. T cells, a type of white blood cell responsible for detecting and defending the body against viruses and bacteria, actually attack healthy skin cells in people suffering from psoriasis. These T cells, when running in overdrive, will elicit other immune responses, such as blood vessel dilation as well as an increase in the number of other white blood cells permitted to enter the epidermis, the outermost layer of skin. All of this causes a heightened production of healthy skin cells along with more T cells. The result is that more new skin cells move to the epidermis far too rapidly.
This process happens in a matter of several days whereas it should occur over several weeks. This quickened cycle is problematic because dead skin cells and white blood cells on the epidermis are not removed fast enough, so skin cells build up forming thick, flaky patches. Without intervention, the cycle will inevitably continue.
Genetics also play a big role in psoriasis. Research has shown that one out of every ten people has the genetic makeup that makes them susceptible to psoriasis. However, only two to three percent of the population actually develops the painful disease. Genetics are not the only factor though, as people who have psoriasis do not necessarily have any other reported cases in their family.
A certain and specific combination of genetic factors is needed for psoriasis to appear. Scientists have not fully unlocked the code yet, however, they have concluded that some people are more likely to be predisposed to having psoriasis.
As only a small percentage of the population reports suffering from psoriasis, it is likely that a combination of genetics and environmental factors work to causes psoriasis. Triggers of psoriasis include certain medications, sun exposure, cold weather, allergies, diet, stress, vaccinations, skin abrasions or scratches, smoking, excessive alcohol consumption, infections, and injuries. Medications that have been associated with psoriasis include Lithium, Anti-malarials, Inderal, Quinidine, and Indomethacin.
In order to develop psoriasis, it takes just the right genetic combination as well as exposure to environmental triggers in someone who is already susceptible.
Many effective treatment options exist for psoriasis from natural to medicinal. Proper treatment is best determined by a physician on a case-by-case basis depending on the location and severity of the psoriasis.
For less severe cases that affect small areas of the body, topical creams, lotions, or sprays may be adequate. Moderate and severe cases that affect larger areas of skin may require ultraviolet light treatments or medication in the form of injections or pills.
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