What Causes HS?
Learn about the genetic and environmental risk factors that might play a role.
Christopher Sayed, M.D., associate professor of dermatology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, discusses the common genetic and environmental risk factors associated with HS.
What causes or triggers HS is a very interesting question, and it’s a question that I wish I knew the answer to very well. What we do know, is that HS shares a lot of signatures with other chronic inflammatory conditions like Crohn's disease or rheumatoid arthritis. It also tends to run in families a lot of times. We have collected information from patients – about 50 to 60 percent of patients have another family member with it, and about 40 percent of the time that's a first degree relative. There's almost certainly something genetic that underlies the disease or at least increases risk, but what that is for the majority of those patients is not clear at this time. We're doing research, and others are doing research trying to understand that better.
There are certainly other things that are linked to disease in terms of certain environmental factors such as smoking, but a lot of it is really unknown at this point, just like these other chronic inflammatory conditions.