October 26, 2017

Facts about Psoriasis

Do you know that there is World Psoriasis Day? Yes, this is a worldwide event where people around the world celebrate the WPD to give voice to millions of people who have psoriasis and I’m one of those people who have psoriasis

In the Philippines, we have National Awareness Week from October 23-29 since 2011 via Presidential Proclamation. But before that, PsorPhil is already celebrating World Psoriasis Day every year. People who have psoriasis, doctors, family and other supporters gather together to spread awareness about this skin condition.

This year, it will be celebrated on October 29, 2017 at San Andres Sports Complex. I haven’t joined all the parade but I was able to attend 2010, 2012, 2014 and hopefully this year, I can attend WPD event. 

If you have psoriasis or if you know someone who has psoriasis, let them know that there is a PsorPhil group or different clubs around the Philippines where you can join so you won’t feel alone. I am a member of Asian Psorclub so if you live in Laguna, Cavite, Las Pinas, Muntinlupa, Paranaque or anywhere in South, you can join our group. 

Anyway, since this is National Awareness Week let me inform you about psoriasis. I saw this flyer while I was cleaning. This is the flyer that we’re giving away during our Word Psoriasis Day walk.

Psoriasis in Numbers

Psoriasis affects 1-3% of the world’s population. (Clin. Dermatol. 2006;24;438-47) 
1.8 million Filipinos may have psoriasis. Psoriasis affects adult males and females equally. 
Studies have shown that 36-71% of patients with psoriasis have one relative who is also affected by psoriasis. 
Up to 10-20% of patients with plaque psoriasis also experience psoriatic arthritis. Psoriatic arthritis develops in persons aged 35-55 years old. 
Approximately 50% of psoriasis patients >65 years old have at least 3 comorbidities and -67% have 2 or more comorbities, -10% of patients have ocular signs (blepharitis, conjunctivitis) which is more common in men than in women. (R. Arffa, MD, emedicine.com 2009) 
On the average, people with severe psoriasis have shorter life span of 4 years than patients without psoriasis, 3.5% years for men and 4.4 years for women. (Arch Dermatol. 2007;143(12):1493-1499)

Facts about Psoriasis 

What is psoriasis? 

Psoriasis is a common, chronic, relapsing, inflammatory skin disorder with a strong genetic basis. It is characterized be red, raised, itchy patches, with silvery scales, which can occur on any part of the body. 

Psoriasis is not an infection and therefore is not contagious. 

What causes psoriasis? 

The exact cause of psoriasis is still undetermined. Psoriasis occurs when the immune system sends out faulty signals that speed up the growth cycle of skin cells. Again, psoriasis is not caused by an infection and not contagious. 

What triggers psoriasis? 

The development of psoriasis has undoubtedly a genetic component, but certain environmental factors may also trigger the disease. These factors may include physical trauma, infections, stress, drug, alcohol, and cold climate. 

Is there a cure for psoriasis? 

At present, doctors cannot cure the disease, or even modify the course illness. Current treatments do not affect disease activity. This means that if the disease is active, then relapse will occur as soon as treatment is discontinued whatever therapy is used. 

However, psoriasis can be cleared with treatment that is currently available. 

Other Important Information about Psoriasis 

Psoriasis, being a common, chronic, complex inflammatory disease shares immunological features with other serious health disorders. 

Recent studies suggest that moderate to severe psoriasis is associated with comorbidities like metabolic syndrome and its components (obesity, diabetes, hypertension, hypertriglyceridemia), cardiovascular disease, Chron’s disease, chronic obstructive lung disease, depression, and inflammatory arthritis among others. 

Considering the link between psoriasis and comorbidities, it pertinent that a patient be aware of importance of regular follow-ups to their health care providers in order to be monitored for the said risk factors. It is also important for patients to adapt healthy lifestyle choices, including diet and exercise, to help prevent the development of comorbidities. 

Aside from these serious medical disorders, people with psoriasis are faced with a psychological and emotional burden aggravated by lack of awareness regarding the disease. Many of them face discrimination in public places like the hair salon, riding public transportation, workplace, swimming pools, and the like. It is important that people be made aware that psoriasis is not contagious and cannot be passed on by physically interacting with a person with psoriasis. Psychological and social support from family members, friends and support groups are very significant in decreasing the isolation of patient feels and increasing his/her confidence in living well with psoriasis.

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