Psoriasis is a chronic, non-contagious skin disorder and is among the most widespread autoimmune, genetic diseases in the United States. According to the National Institute of Health in the US, between 5.8 and 7.5 million Americans have psoriasis (3).
Psoriasis provides many challenges including high prevalence, chronicity, disfiguration, disability and associated comorbidity (4). Approximately 6%–11% of patients with psoriasis have an associated joint inflammatory disease, psoriatic arthritis (3).
Genetics influence the source of understanding as to how the immune system becomes activated in people who have psoriasis and/or psoriatic arthritis. It is estimated that approximately 40% of individuals suffering from psoriasis or psoriatic arthritis have a first degree relative with the disease (2). Some are more likely to suffer from psoriasis than others and this predisposition remains in the genes. Scientists have now identified about 25 genetic variants that make an individual more likely to develop psoriatic disease. Genetic variants in the HLA-C, IL12B, IL13, IL23R, MTHFR, TNIP1 and TNFAIP3 genes are strongly associated with psoriasis (5,6,7).
What’s next? To understand your genetic predisposition towards psoriasis you can get a genetic test that includes these associated variants. Genetic testing may help medical professionals to determine a diagnosis from common skin diseases displaying similar symptoms. If you are experiencing symptoms such as raised red skin with white scales consult with your healthcare provider and consider oral, procedural and topical options in attempt to relive symptoms. Oral vitamin D, vitamin B12, selenium and omega-3 fatty acids in fish oils are progressively used to manage psoriasis and this treatment is well supported by medical research (8). Topical corticosteroids are the most common treatment for psoriasis and can help reduce the swelling and redness due to their anti-inflammatory properties. Over-the-counter topicals come in many different forms and often contain two FDA-approved active ingredients – salicylic acid and coal tar.
Unfortunately there is no cure for psoriasis, but ongoing medical research continues in an effort to better understand causes and potential treatments.
- Aterido, Adrià et al. Genome-Wide Pathway Analysis Identifies Genetic Pathways Associated with Psoriasis. Journal of Investigative Dermatology. Volume 136 ,Issue 3, 593 – 602.
- Gladman DD, Anhorn KA, Schachter RK, Mervart H. HLA antigens in psoriatic arthritis. Journal of Rheumatology. 1986 Jun; 13(3):586-92.
- Kaplan MJ. Cardiometabolic risk in psoriasis: differential effects of biologic agents. Vascular Health and Risk Management. 2008;4(6):1229-1235.
- Boehncke, Wolf-Henning et al. Psoriasis. The Lancet. Volume 386, Issue 9997, 983 – 994.
- Boehncke WH. Etiology and Pathogenesis of Psoriasis. Rheumatic Diseases Clinic of North America. 2015 Nov;41(4):665-75.
- Nair RP, Duffin KC, Helms C, et al. Genomewide Scan Reveals Association of Psoriasis with IL-23 and NF-κB Pathways. Nature Genetics. 2009;41(2):199-204.
- Zhang, C., Zhu, K.-J., Liu, H., Quan, C., Liu, Z., Li, S.-J., Zhu, C.-Y., Li, K.-S. and Fan, Y.-M. (2015), The TNFAIP3polymorphism rs610604 both associates with the risk of psoriasis vulgaris and affects the clinical severity. Clin Exp Dermatol, 40: 426–430.
- Millsop, Jillian W. et al. Diet and psoriasis, part III: Role of nutritional supplements. Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, Volume 71, Issue 3, 561 – 569.