What is the Underlying Cause of Psoriasis?

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Patient Interview

  1. KM is a 38-year-old white woman with a 6-year history of psoriasis. Her family history includes allergies and asthma and her mother with psoriasis. KM returns today for an increase in symptoms, and she wants to improve the appearance of her skin. Please discuss the following:
    • What is the underlying cause of psoriasis?
      • According to the Journal of Psoriasis and Psoriatic Arthritis (2021), Psoriasis is an autoimmune disease that causes inflammation in the body. Because of the inflammation, you may be able to see visible signs on the skin. These signs include raised plaques and scales. These appear because the immune system is overactive causing a rapid production of skin cells. Risk factors include a person’s family history, stress, and smoking. In KM’s case, she is a white female with a family history of psoriasis. One research study showed that the prevalence of psoriasis in Caucasian patients was 2.5% and nearly 1.3% in African American patients (Gelfand et al., 2017)
    • What are the common signs and symptoms of this disease?
      • According to Mayo Clinic, Psoriasis is a chronic, common disease with no cure. Usually, it will go through cycles where it can flare for a few weeks or months then goes into remission. Although signs and symptoms can vary from person to person the most common include red patches of skin covered with thick, silvery scales, dry, cracked skin that may itch and bleed, swollen and stiff joints, and thickened pitted or ridged nails.
  1. Define, Compare and Contrast the following conditions:
  • Fibrocystic breast disease
    • Fibrocystic breast disease also called fibrocystic breasts or fibrocystic change is a benign condition where the breast feels lumpy. All though it may be bothersome for some women, it is not harmful or dangerous (Cafasso, 2019). According to Mayo Clinic, more than half of women will develop fibrocystic breast disease at some point. Having fibrocystic breasts can make it more challenging to detect breast cancer. Some signs and symptoms of fibrocystic breast include swelling, pain, lumps, and tenderness. Fibrocystic breast disease is caused by hormonal changes and one’s symptoms can present before or during your menstrual cycle. Diagnosis consists of a doctor performing a breast exam or it can also be diagnosed from an ultrasound, Mammogram, or MRI.
  • Fibroadenoma
    • According to the American Cancer Society (2021), Fibroadenoma are common and are benign. Fibroadenomas are breast tumors made up of glandular tissue and connective tissue. There are commonly found in women in their 20s and 30s. Fibroadenomas are round in nature with clear-cut borders, can often feel like a marble within the breast. When a fibroadenoma is present, a biopsy is ordered to make sure the tumor is indeed benign. Physicians recommend removing fibroadenomas.
  • Malignant breast tumor
    • A malignant breast tumor is also known as breast cancer, according to the American Cancer Society (2020). Breast cancer usually evolves from a lump. Although it is more prevalent in women, men may also get breast cancer. Most breast cancers start in the ducts that carry milk to the nipple. According to the Cleveland Clinic, Non-Hispanic Black women in the US have a 39% higher risk of dying from breast cancer. At the current time, there is no specific cause of breast cancer only certain risk factors can put you at higher risk of developing it. Some of these risk factors include body weight, Implants, using hormone-based prescriptions, and alcohol consumption. Breast cancer is diagnosed by either a breast examination, Mammography, or Ultrasonography, and biopsy. Treatment is different depending on the size and location of the tumor.


Breast cancer: Causes, stage, diagnosis & treatment. Cleveland Clinic. (n.d.). https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/3986-breast-cancer.

Cafasso, J. (2019, March 7). Fibrocystic breast disease: Causes, symptoms, and diagnosis. Healthline. https://www.healthline.com/health/fibrocystic-breast-disease.

Fibroadenomas of the breast. American Cancer Society. (2021). https://www.cancer.org/cancer/breast-cancer/non-cancerous-breast-conditions/fibroadenomas-of-the-breast.html.

Gelfand, J. M., Stern, R. S., Nijsten, T., Feldman, S. R., Thomas, J., Kist, J., Rolstad, T., & Margolis, D. (2017, January). The prevalence of psoriasis in African Americans: Results from a population-based study. Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/15627076/.


Journal of Psoriasis and Psoriatic Arthritis. (2021). Psoriasis: Causes, triggers and treatments. National Psoriasis Foundation. https://www.psoriasis.org/about-psoriasis/.