What Causes Psoriasis?
Psoriasis is a disease that makes your skin cells go into overdrive. They become massively hyper. Psoriasis skin cells literally mature at a rate that is four to five times higher than regular normal cells. They then pile up on the skin like snowflakes in a blizzard. It is frustrating for people who have the disease because these cells are attacking the area of the skin where they are located. What makes these cells do this? Nobody actually knows, however, there is no doubt that the immune system is front and center when it comes to what causes psoriasis.
Until about 1979 most dermatologists, doctors, and scientists thought that psoriasis was causing the cells to just make too much skin. Almost every treatment was aimed at stopping that. It didn’t work out too well, of course. But then by chance, researchers got a new look into psoriasis and what was really going on. Numerous people were in a program where they were having bone marrow transplants for other health issues. The researchers discovered that some of the patients who had psoriasis saw it disappear when they were given immune suppressing drugs.
The Root Cause of Psoriasis is Your Immune System
After discovering that the immune system is the true cause of psoriasis, scientists set out to understand it even more in the hopes of finding a cure. While no cure has been found yet, there’s no doubt that progress has been made, and much has been learned of what exactly is going on.
It is now known that T cells, which are a specific kind of white blood cells, are the true culprits. They are the cells that are growing like crazy and attacking the skin. Scientists know that if you take a biopsy of the psoriasis skin, you’ll find a boatload of T cells in there.
Somehow the immune system is triggered into thinking that it must produce more and more cells to fix the problem. It sees it as a threat that it must protect you from. Of course it’s not true, but underneath your skin that’s exactly what your body believes it is doing.
Normally, the immune system tells the body to release proteins called cytokines. The immune system uses those to send messages. Psoriasis causes cytokines to get their signals confused and mixed up. Skin cells then pile up on top of each other. This causes the skin to thicken. The area where the psoriasis develops becomes very red as inflammation and blood flow increase.
There may be a combination of factors in psoriasis. These include genetic predisposition as well as numerous environmental factors. It is actually quite common for numerous family members to have psoriasis, which lends credence to the genetic theory. The immune system definitely plays a major role though. What isn’t known what exactly triggers the immune system to start acting that way. For thirty years, scientists have researched it over and over, yet nobody has truly found the main reason for what causes psoriasis. Hopefully in the future that changes.