Psoriasis is an uncomfortable skin disease that causes skin to break out in itchy, reddish patches. 7.5 million people in the United States suffer from this disease, according to the National Psoriasis Foundation. Although psoriasis is not rare, there are many misconceptions and myths surrounding the condition and its causes.
Psoriasis is an autoimmune disease that causes skin cells to mature much faster than normal. In addition to growing faster, the cells do not slough off as they do in healthy individuals. Instead, they build up to create thick, white scales over the skin that persist even after cleansing and moisturizing. The most common locations for psoriasis outbreaks to occur are on the knees, elbows, and the scalp, but the condition can appear anywhere on the body.
Myths and Misconceptions
While many people still believe that poor hygiene or improper skin care causes psoriasis, this simply isn’t true. Psoriasis is not contagious, meaning that you cannot catch it from another person even if you come into contact with a skin lesion.
Although the exact cause of psoriasis is still unknown, medical experts have learned many facts about the disease and identified some likely causes. Most people who develop psoriasis have a parent or another close family member who also suffers from the disease. Thus, there is a strong genetic correlation to developing the disease.
People who have impaired immune systems, which can be caused by HIV, AIDS, or chemotherapy treatment, are more likely to develop psoriasis. Injury to the skin, such as by immunizations, sunburns, and scratches, are also triggers that can result in the development of psoriasis.
You are more likely to develop psoriasis after contracting another infectious disease. Strep is the most common disease that can cause psoriasis. However, earaches, bronchitis, tonsillitis, or a respiratory infection also increases the likelihood of developing the skin disease. Psoriasis outbreaks are also often caused by increased stress and anxiety levels. Some medication can trigger a psoriasis outbreak. Some of these medications include lithium, high blood pressure medications, antimalarial drugs, and iodides.
It is important to note that most of the causes of psoriasis are actually just triggers of the disease. The genetic link is the most likely cause of the disease, while the triggers simply cause it to come to light. Many individuals do not experience any symptoms until a trigger occurs, sometimes even in older age. In addition, psoriasis can disappear for years with no treatment required.
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