West Houston Dermatology

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What Causes Psoriasis?

Psoriasis is a genetic skin disease caused by abnormalities in the immune system that cause skin cells to generate and mature too rapidly, come to the surface and form lesions.  These lesions also appear very red because of increased blood flow.  According to the National Psoriasis Foundation, approximately 7.5 million people in the United States have psoriasis, which is about 3% of the population.  This skin disease affects people of all races, but Caucasians have a higher incidence of psoriasis.  The cause of psoriasis is unknown, but research physicians agree the disease has a genetic component.  If one parent has psoriasis, the there is a 25% chance that the child will develop the disease, and if both parents have psoriasis the risk that the child will develop psoriasis escalates to 65%.  In addition to the genetic component, the immune system is incorrectly triggered to speed up the cycling of skin cells.  In short, for a person to develop psoriasis, he/she must have the genetic predisposition and undergo the precise trigger(s) to cause the disease to express itself.  This means that even though a person has the genetic code associated with psoriasis, that person may never develop the disease.  Scientists have hypotheses about various triggers, but they are not fully understood at this time.  However, most physicians agree that stress and certain types of infection are potential psoriasis triggers.  Psoriasis can be a frustrating disease to live with and treat, and it is important to see a board certified dermatologist for patient education and treatment.  At West Houston Dermatology we are experts in treating psoriasis and passionate about helping patients cope with the disease.  Our practice is unique in Houston because we offers patients full body light therapy.