Is Psoriasis Hereditary Or Not?

Is psoriasis hereditary or not

What is Psoriasis? Psoriasis is a skin condition that develops when signals go crazy with the immune system. Genes and heredity are one factor that causes it. You do not shed dead skin but it builds up forming plaque. Some families have a history of psoriasis but genes are just one reason it develops.  Often it is found that only 1/3 of patients have a history of the disease in the family.

Scientists believe that about 10 percent of the population inherits genes that cause psoriasis or plaque psoriasis.  Only about 2 to 3% will develop the disease. It gives them a chance of developing it sometime during their lifetime. There are many psoriasis causes besides genes.

Other Factors that Trigger Psoriasis

Stress in your personal life will trigger psoriasis. Loss of a job, death in the family, addictions and illness. That is why more adult men and women develop psoriasis more than children. A study showed seven genetic factors linked to developing psoriasis.  They have isolated several genes linked to the disease.  Eventually scientists may find a way to fix genes or cells and treat the disease more effectively.

Today there are several new treatments that manage psoriasis well.  They are new drugs that suppress the immune system so the body does not develop the disease and biologics made from animal and plant proteins. They are forms of vaccines and insulin. Biologics target certain immune cells without harsh results.

Gene Research Hold the Key to a Cure

Studying how genes work helps the medical community understand how the immune system works. Genes control everything from the color of our eyes to the height we are. They use genetic sequencing technology to identify genes that cause psoriasis. Often the genes are inherited from our parents. One professor Anne Bowcock, PhD at Washington University School of Medicine discovered a gene CARD14. She is professor of genetics.

This gene when activated is triggered by environmental factors like stress, chemicals, medications, skin injury, and infections caused psoriasis. Some medications that are linked to triggering psoriasis are Lithium, Inderal, Quinidine and Indomethicine. These are all medications used to treat different illnesses.

More About Triggers

Skin bites, scratches, and itching can lead to a bout with psoriasis.  A bad sunburn or bites from a bug are other factors that lead to an outbreak. Different types of infection sometimes leads to outbreak. A strep throat is linked to a form of psoriasis that looks like small red drops. Kids often get this type of psoriasis called guttate psoriasis. It is caused by tonsil infections, earaches, colds and the flu.

Stress in ever day life will cause psorsis. The stress of excelling in school, competition, sports, work, and just everyday life. Leaning to manage stress will help manage psoriasis. Those that are overweight will develop psoriasis. Losing weight helps with the disease.

About 80% of people suffer from plaque psoriasis. This appears as red raised lesions on the skin and covered by a white silvery scale. It often develops on elbows, knees, scalp and lower back.  Because of the itching and pain psoriasis has been linked to depression.  Patients often feel self conscious about their appearance.

Diet and Psoriasis

Diet does not cure psoriasis but can help manage it better. Doctors suggest eating healthy and dieting to lose weight if you are overweight. They suggest eating plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grain and lean protein. This means meats, seafood, eggs, beans and poultry. Low-fat dairy products are a good choice.

 It is an inflammatory disease so eating food that reduces inflammation is a good choice. This means fish, lean poultry, meats good oils, whole grains, and low fat dairy products.  A broad selection of fresh fruits and vegetables is important. When you have psoriasis talk with your doctor to see if he can suggest dietary changes and supplements that will help you control the disease better.

Psoriasis and Gene Therapy

This is a therapy that is not yet available to patients. It will be used to treat genes and repair them. It may be hard to find a cure using this therapy because there are many genes that cause psoriasis. It would be hard to fix all of them. It will be many years before gene therapy is available.

The good news is there are many psoriasis causes, and many different treatments available. There are injections; pills, vaccines, and even topical medications that will help manage the disease. Don’t suffer with psoriasis waiting for gene therapy contact a doctor and learn what treatments are available now. 

By Joan Russell