Psoriasis a condition, which runs in families but the exact way in which the disease moves from generation to generation has not yet been established. Although the tendency to contract psoriasis is stored in a person's genes, it is by no means certain that it will ever develop.
Exposure to certain stimuli, such as a streptococcal infection in the throat, alcohol, medicines, local irritation or damage to the skin may cause an outbreak of psoriasis in persons who have this genetic predisposition. There are two main types of psoriasis: Psoriasis vulgaris (plaque psoriasis) and Psoriasis pustulosa (pustular psoriasis). The different types of psoriasis can be divided into subgroups according to severity, duration, and location on the body and appearance of the lesions.
Around six percent of the people who have psoriasis also get psoriatic arthritis in the joints. Psoriatic arthritis primarily occurs in fingers and toes, but is also quite common in the backbone.
Recent research indicates that psoriasis is likely a disorder of the immune system. This system includes a type of white blood cell, called a T cell, which normally helps protect the body against infection and disease. Scientists now think that in psoriasis, an abnormal immune system causes activity by T cells in the skin. These T cells trigger the inflammation and excessive skin cell reproduction seen in people with psoriasis.
In about one-third of the cases, psoriasis is inherited. People with psoriasis may notice that there are times when their skin worsens, then improves. Conditions that may cause flare ups include changes in climate, infections, stress, and dry skin.
Also, certain medicines, most notably beta-blockers, which are used to treat high blood pressure, and lithium or drugs used to treat depression, may trigger an outbreak or worsen the disease.
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