Psoriasis is a multi-factorial disease, i.e. its onset depends on several factors. It is the combination of these factors that triggers the onset of psoriasis flares.
- Genetic factors in psoriasis: There is often a familial predisposition (at least one family member is also affected by the disease). Several genes have been identified that are associated with a higher risk of developing psoriasis.
- Environmental factors in psoriasis: Several environmental factors can trigger a psoriasis outbreak or worsen symptoms.
- Immune factors in psoriasis: The presence of many white blood cells in psoriasis plaques suggests an aggravating role for the immune system, the body’s defence system. It is possible that after an injury or infection to the skin, the immune system’s repair process goes awry: new skin cells are produced at a rapid rate and no longer allow the natural removal of dead cells. This phenomenon leads to the appearance of psoriasis plaques.
Psoriasis is mainly caused by an immune dysfunction that leads to chronic and exaggerated inflammation of the skin and an overproduction of keratinocytes, the keratin-producing cells that make up most of the epidermis. At this time, there is no cure for the disease, but psoriasis treatments are available to reduce symptoms and improve patients’ quality of life.
Despite the almost certain link between the state of the psyche and the onset of psoriasis, none of the proposed synthetic drugs explore this avenue. Recently, however, a number of scientific studies have been published that explain how a state of stress can not only trigger psoriasis, but also maintain it.
Recently, authors have discovered that the red blood cells of psoriatic subjects have membranes low in phospholipids. These special phospholipids are used to regenerate nerve mediators. One of these phospholipids is converted into acetylcholine. If the body lacks it – especially in times of stress, as this acetylcholine calms the nervous system – it is forced to dip into its cells, which leads to inflammation and loss of cell adhesion. In the skin, this results in psoriasis plaques, sometimes accompanied by very painful psoriatic arthritis.