12 June 2014

The burden of psoriasis

People with psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis experience significant challenges every day that heavily impact their quality of life.

Physical burden 


  • Psoriasis is itchy, painful and comfortable.
  • Psoriasis can negatively impact most daily normal activities, such as those using the hands or walking, and physical activities, such as swimming or playing sports.
  • Psoriasis itching and pain can interfere with periods of rest and sleeping.

Social and psychological burden 


  • Psoriasis is often labelled a "common" or "cosmetic" skin disease, minimizing the importance it has for individuals, and increasing their frustration when disease management is difficult.
  • A common misperception by the public continues to be that psoriasis is contagious, leading to discrimination and social isolation of people with psoriasis.
  • Social stigma of psoriasis often renders it a "hidden disease".
  • Psoriasis sufferers often feel ashamed, cover their symptoms and will not tell friends that they suffer with the condition, thus making the disease and the impact it has on their lives completely unknown.
  • Embarrassment from psoriasis interferes with socialising and sexual activities.
  • Heavy psychological toll of low self-esteem, humiliation and depression.
  • Psoriasis can limit employment opportunities and can impose a serious barrier in the job market.

The burden of managing psoriasis 


  • Physicians may misdiagnose psoriasis, mistaking it for a common rash, atopic dermatitis or eczema.
  • Managing psoriasis can be challenging for both patients and physicians: some physicians may not understand the full impact psoriasis has on a patient's quality of life, and sometimes patients may not be able to communicate this adequately to their physician.
  • Healthcare system fails to recognise psoriasis as a chronic inflammatory disease that requires consistent monitoring and treatment.
  • Recent studies show that, if left unrecognised and untreated, psoriasis will be more likely to experience comorbid complications, such as cardiovascular disease, liver disease, depression and obesity, that further burden the patient and healthcare system.
  • Effective and long-term treatment is limited for many patients due to the lack of access to healthcare and phototherapy facilities, high cost of treatments and health insurance issues, low efficacy of available treatment, or treatment risk factors.

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