Have you been experiencing itchy scales and redness on your elbows, feet, hands, knees, or scalp? This could be a result of inflammation from psoriasis. Where did it come from? Is psoriasis genetic? There could very well be a connection to your genes.
Psoriasis, a skin condition that affected about 7.4 million people in the United States in 2013, occurs when immune cells in your blood mistakenly recognize newly-produced skin cells as foreign. When they attack, this causes an overproduction of new skin cells beneath the surface of the skin. These new cells move to the surface and force out existing skin cells, which causes the inflammation, scales and itching associated with psoriasis.
According to the National Psoriasis Foundation (NPF), psoriasis usually appears in individuals between the ages of 15 and 35, although it can occur at any age.
Is Psoriasis genetic?
Although psoriasis can occur in individuals without a family history of the autoimmune disease, the risks are increased when there is a family member who has psoriasis.
For instance, if both parents have psoriasis, the chance that you have it is 50%. If one parent only has the disease, your chance of having it is 10%.
Considering the research on genetics and psoriasis, scientists believe that the problem begins with the immune system. Psoriatic skin has been found to contain many immune cells that produce cytokines, which are inflammatory molecules.
Researchers have also discovered a rare gene mutation, CARD14, that is connected to psoriasis. When it is exposed to an infection or another environmental trigger, the mutation produces plaque psoriasis, which is the most common form of the disease.
Infection in young people is reported to be a trigger for the onset of psoriasis, according to the NPF. When considering environmental factors, these are possible triggers for flare-ups and outbreaks: