Recommended TreatmentFungal Nail Renewal
Why Do You Get Psoriasis on Your Nails?
Psoriasis is a chronic inflammatory skin disease that makes your body overproduce skin cells, causing patches of red, scaly and sometimes itchy skin to build up on various parts of the body. The exact causes for psoriasis and nail psoriasis are not completely clear, but the immune system is known to be involved. Normally, the immune system protects your body from infection by destroying harmful bacteria, fungi and viruses that enter your system. But in a person with psoriasis, the immune system malfunctions and instead promotes inflammation and abnormally rapid skin growth. When psoriasis attacks the nails, they may become discolored, pitted, thickened and loose. Sometimes lines form on the nail. Many of the symptoms are similar to those that are caused by nail fungus and it is not uncommon to be affected by both diseases at the same time.
Who Gets Nail Psoriasis?
Anybody can get psoriasis of the nail but the disease usually develops in early adulthood. Men and women are equally likely to have it, and it affects people of all ethnicities. The vast majority of people who have nail psoriasis also have skin symptoms, but it is possible to only have symptoms in the nails. Nail psoriasis occurs in approximately 50 percent of all people with skin psoriasis and at least 80 percent of all people with psoriatic arthritis, the related joint condition. It is not known why only some people with psoriasis develop symptoms in the nails. Most likely, the disease is due to a combination of genetic and environmental factors, but it is not contagious, so you cannot become infected by touching somebody who has it.
Psoriasis in the Nails – Genetic Causes
Psoriasis is a hereditary disease, so if the disease runs in your family you are more likely to suffer from it as well. However, carrying the gene does not always cause the disease to develop. In some cases it skips a generation, affecting a grandparent and a grandchild, but not the parent. It is believed that approximately 10 percent of the population is predisposed for psoriasis, but only 2-3 percent actually develops the disease, usually after being exposed to certain environmental “triggers.”
Triggers for Nail Psoriasis
There are several known triggers for psoriasis but what causes the disease to flare up can vary from person to person. Some people have flare-ups frequently, whereas others can go several years without experiencing any symptoms.
- Stress. Many people have their first flare-up of psoriasis during periods of intense stress. Indeed, the two often go together, as stress also can be a result of psoriasis. Employing various relaxation techniques, such as yoga, meditation, tai chi or long walks, can help alleviate psoriasis symptoms.
- Injury. Psoriasis can be triggered by injuries or trauma to the skin, such as from vaccinations, sunburn or cuts.
- Medications. Certain drugs that are used to treat psychiatric disorders, malaria, high blood pressure, heart disease and arthritis can potentially trigger psoriasis or make it worse.
- Infection. Strep throat is known to activate psoriasis in children. Earaches, bronchitis, tonsillitis or respiratory infections can also cause psoriasis to flare up.
- Other. Smoking and alcohol consumption have been associated with an increased risk of psoriasis.
By learning as much as you can about these triggers, you can reduce the risk of a flare-up. There is currently no cure for psoriasis, but with the right nail psoriasis treatment the disease can be managed effectively.