Psoriasis is a chronic skin disorder. Living with the disorder can be extremely uncomfortable for the patient at times. Early detection of the disorder helps. It is not contagious; therefore it does not spread through touch.
There are five kinds of psoriasis, namely, plaque psoriasis, inverse psoriasis, guttate psoriasis, erythrodermic and pustular psoriasis. The most common is plaque psoriasis. The different types affect the different parts of the body. Each kind of psoriasis is characterized by lesions of varying types. Psoriasis may be mild, moderate or severe. A dermatologist can help bring the symptoms under control.
There is some debate over the causes of Psoriasis. The exact causes are unknown, although many are speculated. It is known however, that genetically predisposed individuals contract it when environmental causes trigger it. These include psychological stress, climatic conditions and physical trauma.
There are two main hypotheses regarding the cause of psoriasis. The first suggests that the problem arises mainly due to the overproduction of skin cells. This is considered to be a fault of the epidermis. The second suggests that it is an auto-immune disorder. That is, the T-cells which normally help prevent infection start to act in a harmful manner by attacking healthy cells and causing inflammation. Thus, according to the second hypothesis, the excessive reproduction of skin cells is secondary, and an offset of the malfunctioning immune system.
The second hypothesis is more prevalent than the first. The reason being, that it has been studied that the T-cells migrate to the dermis, and trigger the release of cytokines and lead to inflammation and production of excessive skin cells. What triggers the T-cells to do so, however, is unknown. The fact that giving immune suppressant drugs has helped control the disorder also makes the second hypothesis more plausible.
In sum, there is still a lot of confusion over the exact cause, as people seem to improve or worsen with the condition for no apparent reason. Animal studies have shown that T-cells might not have a very important role to play. There is susceptibility that poor skin barrier function may also be a cause.