Is My Psoriasis Heriditary?

By Freedom 360

Medically reviewed by Freedom 360 Panel of Doctors

The causes of psoriasis continue to baffle doctors. No-one is really sure what causes it. But while there is no cure, successful management of the condition will allow patients to enjoy their life fully.

A common question people with psoriasis often ask is whether the disease is hereditary. This is particularly of interest to a patient thinking about starting a family - of course they want to know whether their sons and daughters will also develop psoriasis.

Unfortunately there is no easy answer on the question of whether psoriasis will be passed from generation to generation. However, the pattern of the disease does show there is a higher chance of a person having psoriasis if your relatives also has the diseasei

For example, there is a threefold increased risk of psoriasis in identical twins compared to non-identical or fraternal twinsii. This implies there is a genetic and hereditary link behind the occurrence of psoriasis.

However, this does not mean that if one identical twin has psoriasis then the other will definitely have it too. The rate of concordance between identical twins can be as low as 35 per cent, which suggests other factors of a non-hereditary nature also play a roleiii.

A study involving 3,000 families in which one or both parents had psoriasis also confirmed the hereditary nature of the diseaseiv. This study found an increased risk of having psoriasis is your parent also has it, compared to a person whose parents do not have the disease. The risk of having the illness was twice as high if both parents had psoriasis compared to just one parent having the disease.

The good news for psoriasis patients is that new developments in our understanding of psoriasis are taking place every day and there are treatments available now that could only have been dreamt of 20 years ago.

For example, the management of the illness has taken a major leap forward with the introduction of biologic treatments. Biologics are made from living human or animal proteins and work by blocking the action of certain immune cells (T-Cells) which play a part in causing psoriasis.

Almost all treatments that work for psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis impact or target the immune system in some way. This is true for UV treatment and some traditional systemic medications. The difference is that their impact on the body is broad, while biologics are more targeted.

So while there is a statistically higher chance that a psoriasis patient’s children may also have psoriasis, it is good to know that there are ongoing research and medical advances that promise a better quality of life for the next generation of psoriasis patients.

  • Elder JT, Nair RP, Guo SW, Henseler T, Christophers E, Voorhees JJ. The genetics of psoriasis. Arch Dermatol. 1994;130:216–24
  • Elder JT, Nair RP, Guo SW, Henseler T, Christophers E, Voorhees JJ. The genetics of psoriasis. Arch Dermatol. 1994;130:216–24
  • Elder JT, Nair RP, Guo SW, Henseler T, Christophers E, Voorhees JJ. The genetics of psoriasis. Arch Dermatol. 1994;130:216–24
    Swanbeck G, Inerot A, Martinsson T, Wahlstrom JA. Population genetic study of of psoriasis. Br JDermatol.1994;131:32–39.
  • Swanbeck G, Inerot A, Martinsson T, Enerback C, Enlund F, Samuelsson L, et al.Genetic counselling in psoriasis: empirical data on psoriasis among first-degree relatives of 3095 psoriatic probands. Br J Dermatol1997;137:939–42.

Is My Psoriasis Heriditary?