I'm sure many of you have seen people or know of someone with pink, scabby looking stuff on their elbows or legs. So what is this stuff? It's called Psoriasis.

"Scientists believe that at least 10% of the general population inherits one or more of the genes that create a predisposition to psoriasis [and] only 2%-3% of the population develops the disease [on their own]." Scientists have also found that a person has twenty-five genetic variants that makes them able to develop psoriasis diseases. This means that these people inherited psoriasis from the genes their parent(s) carried. Researcher Anne Bowcock and her colleagues from Washington University School of Medicine of St. Louis found a rare mutation in the gene called CARD14 that triggers due to a negative environmental circumstance to the body that results in plaque psoriasis. -("Psoriasis") Environmental circumstances like stress, injury to skin or even medications provoke this disease. Stress causes psoriasis because just like a cut, the immune system sends chemicals that would heal a wound that causes inflammation. The same concept applies when a person is dealing with a lot of stress, the immune system sends chemicals that cause inflammation to the skin ("Stress"). Due to the mutation of CARD14, the protein NF-kappaB develops inflammatory cells faster and sends them to the top layer of the skin. This causes skin cells to quickly mature and create thick, itchy, pink/white patches on the skins surface ("First").

Psoriasis has five different types that a person can develop. Plaque is the most common form. This is the typical red/white patch of Psoriasis found on the back, legs, elbows and scalp. This picture below represents a person with Plaque Psoriasis.

what_is_psoriasis_large.jpgThe second most common form is Guttate Psoriasis that begins during childhood. These are smaller red patches that almost remind one of Chicken Pox. Inverse Psoriasis is found mostly in genitals or body folds like an armpit. It's red without the white scaly part because of the moist environment and usually it's sweat that irritates the psoriasis. Pustular Psoriasis is when blisters evolve from the psoriasis, most commonly found on feet and hands but can cover the body as well. The blisters are full of pus that contains white blood cells. The last type of psoriasis is Erythrodermic, which covers the body and is life-threatening by the body losing protein and fluid. -("Types")

Other health problems can occur due to psoriasis like Psoriatic Arthritis where people feel pain and swelling in their joints, Depression, and Type 2 Diabetes. Cardiovascular Disease has been linked to lab mice who have a similar disease close to psoriasis where "chronic inflammation over large areas of the body led to inflammation in major arteries" but it is still unsure for humans even though the correlation of many patients who have psoriasis are overweight ("National"). Psoriasis can be treated but for most it doesn't go away. Treatments like the use of prescription medications that go through the whole body, topical medications are used mainly for those patients who have mild psoriasis, and UVB light has been found to slow the growth of the cells. -("Topical")

With all the environmental triggers why aren't there more people who do have psoriasis? How can we stop the immune system from overreacting and causing inflammation?


Works Cited:

"First Gene linked to common form of psoriasis identified." Washington University in St. Louis. 28 Sept. 2013 <>.

"Health Conditions Associated with Psoriasis." National Psoriasis Foundation. 28 Sept 2013 <>.

"National Psoriasis Foundations-Funded Study Discovers How Psoriasis and Cardiovascular Disease Are Connected Shows Treatment Reduces Risk." National Psoriasis Foundation. 28 Sept. 2013 <>.

"Psoriasis Causes and Known Triggers." National Psoriasis Foundation. 28 Sept. 2013 <>.

"Stress." National Psoriasis Foundation. 28 Sept. 2013 <>.

"Topical Treatments." National Psoriasis Foundation. 28 Sept 2013 <>.

"Types of Psoriasis." National Psoriasis Foundation. 28 Sept. 2013 <>.

Photo of Psoriasis:



Although I have heard of this condition, I don't think I've ever met(or been aware of)anyone suffering from it. After reading your post I was curious abut this skin disease's symptoms, so I decided to research and see if it could cause any physical pain. I had originally assumed that it would make skin a lot more sensible, but what I discovered was that it can also make the affected area very itchy, give a burning sensation, soreness, and even cause bleeding. I also found that there's such a thing as nail psoriasis! This is definitely an interesting topic. Now I'm really wondering about the treatment options!

Your article caught my attention because my dad has pretty severe psoriasis, and I have an aunt who has a mild case. I knew that stress could trigger it but I
never took the time to research the skin condition.

On a similar note, my dad served a little over two years in the Vietnam War when he was just out of high school. Agent Orange (also known as dioxin) was used heavily during the time he spent there, and I found that Agent Orange can cause multiple health defects, including psoriasis.

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