LONDON, October 29, 2012 /PRNewswire/ --
- Over 80% of people surveyed recognised that psoriasis could have a huge psychological impact on quality of life
- However, nearly one third still wrongly believed psoriasis to be contagious, highlighting the vital need for education to reduce social stigma
- Following a brief education, over half of the respondents agreed they would react differently next time they saw someone with psoriasis symptoms
Psoriasis is a chronic inflammatory skin condition that affects more than 125 million people around the globe.,[ 2] People living with psoriasis experience flare-ups of sore and itchy skin,,[ 3] but the psychological effects of psoriasis can have an even greater impact on their everyday lives. -
A recent survey conducted amongst 1,036 members of the UK general public, highlighted that psoriasis is understood to have a large psychological impact, with 82% agreeing that it could have huge impact on quality of life. However, nearly one third still mistook psoriasis for a contagious condition. Such common misconceptions and a lack of empathy can add greatly to the psychological burden of the disease. 
The Burden of Psoriasis patient research is one of the largest international studies to date investigating the impact that psoriasis has on people's lives. Patients involved in the qualitative stage of the study reported reactions of disgust and fear in response to their psoriasis, and their distress at having to cope with unnecessary comments, questions and staring.
"There is still a huge lack of understanding about psoriasis in the UK," commented Dr Anthony Bewley, Whipps Cross University Hospital & Barts & the London NHS Trust, and Burden of Psoriasis patient research investigator. "We need to educate the general public about the psychological impact of the disease as they can play such an important role in helping to reduce the stigma associated with psoriasis."
Despite the recognition of the potential impact on quality of life, nearly 80% of people surveyed agreed that psoriasis is still a greatly misunderstood condition and 78% agreed that society has an important role to play in reducing stigma.
How does psoriasis impact on quality of life?
Further analyses of the findings from the quantitative stage of Burden of Psoriasis patient research were presented at the 21st EADV Congress in Prague, Czech Republic last month. The results showed that feelings of restriction, isolation, stigmatisation and anxiety are all associated with a high impact of psoriasis on patients' quality of life; and are actually more important than diagnosed symptom severity.
Having learnt more about the everyday impact of psoriasis by reading a patient diary, over half of people questioned in the survey agreed that if they suffered from psoriasis they would likely feel depressed (56%) or anxious about meeting new people (58%).
After education, more than half of the survey respondents (53%) agreed that they would react differently next time they saw someone with psoriasis.
What can we do to help?
The findings from the survey highlight the need to eliminate the misconceptions that taint people's perceptions of and reactions to people with psoriasis. By spreading the word and supporting ongoing educational programmes and awareness campaigns, we can all play our part in helping to improve the lives of people with psoriasis.
World Psoriasis Day, October 29, is an annual day specially dedicated to giving the more than 125 million people who live with psoriasis/psoriatic arthritis an international voice. World Psoriasis Day is presented by IFPA, the International Federation of Psoriasis Associations.
For more information about World Psoriasis Day and what you can do to help please visit http://www.worldpsoriasisday.com
The Burden of Psoriasis patient research reiterates the importance of treating the psychological impact as well as the physical symptoms of psoriasis. Dr Anthony Bewley emphasised, "A collaborative patient-healthcare professional relationship is key to ensuring the most effective treatment and support programmes are being delivered. We need to address the needs of individual patients, giving them the best chance of learning to overcome the impact psoriasis has on their lives."
LEO Pharma is committed to delivering superior care solutions that empower people to better manage their skin conditions and live confidently, and this means offering patients more than products. touch is a comprehensive patient support service in the UK. It aims to address the issues that affect individual people, helping them to overcome the impact that psoriasis has on their lives
For more information about touch please visit http://www.touchpsoriasis.co.uk
This survey was supported by LEO Pharma A/S.
1. Basavaraj KH, Navya MA, Rashmi R. Stress and quality of life in psoriasis: an update. Int J Dermatol 2011;50:783-92.
2. National Psoriasis Foundation. http://www.psoriasis.org/learn_statistics. Last accessed August 2012.
3. A.D.A.M. Medical Encyclopedia. Psoriasis. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/PMH0001470/. Last accessed May 2012.
4. Hansen M, Bewley A, Ersser S, Ward C. Psoriasis treatment expectations and healthcare provider relationships for patients in Europe, the USA and Canada. Dermatol Ther 2012(2);10:42 P095.
5. Rapp SR, Feldman SR, Exum ML, Fleischer AB, Jr., Reboussin DM. Psoriasis causes as much disability as other major medical diseases. J Am Acad Dermatol 1999;41:401-7.
6. Bewley A, Ersser S, Hansen M, Pevac C. Psychosocial and symptomatic burden of psoriasis for patients in Europe, the USA and Canada. Abstract presented at: EADV Congress, Prague, 27 - 30 September 2012 (ID number PRA12-0920).
7. Hrehorow E, Salomon J, Matusiak L, Reich A, Szepietowski JC. Patients with psoriasis feel stigmatized. Acta Derm Venereol 2011;92:67-72.
8. LEO Pharma data on file. Burden of psoriasis - patient research.
SOURCE LEO Pharma A/S