Call to publish psoriasis data.
Psoriasis is a long-lasting autoimmune disease characterised by patches of abnormal skin which are typically red, dry, itchy and scaly.
It is also associated with an increased risk of psoriatic arthritis, lymphomas, cardiovascular disease, Crohn's disease and depression.
"Psoriasis is a disease which is more than what you just see on the skin," said Salmaniya Medical Complex and Ibn Al Nafees Hospital consultant dermatologist Dr Fatima Haji yesterday.
"It also affects other organs in the body.
"In Biblical times, people suffering from psoriasis were shunned by society; they were treated as outcasts and labelled as witches."
Calling for an awareness campaign, she also said lack of knowledge led some husbands with psoriasis to think they got it from their wives.
"Now we are in 2019 and most dermatologists are still having discussions with some husbands who think they picked up the disease from their wives, which is not true."
In 2016, the World Health Organisation said more than 100 million people suffered from psoriasis globally.
However, Dr Haji said it was unfortunate that most Arab nations have still not published any data about the disease in the region.
"We are hoping that the release of statistics in the Middle East will help raise awareness about the disease," she added.
She was speaking at the Fourth International Rheumatology Symposium and Workshops, held under the patronage of Health Minister Faeqa Al Saleh at the Diplomat Radisson Blu Hotel, Residence and Spa.
More than 150 healthcare professionals from Bahrain and the GCC, and international and regional leaders in rheumatology, gathered at the one-day event to discuss latest scientific trends and treatment of rheumatic diseases.
The symposium which included a medical exhibition was organised by the Gulf Medical and Diabetes Centre (GMDC) and inaugurated by Ms Al Saleh, in the presence of Egyptian Ambassador Soha El Far.
Conference chairman and rheumatology professor Dr Samir El Badawy, from Egypt, said such events helped raise awareness of diseases.
"Renowned speakers and specialists took part in the symposium and delivered detailed presentations," he said.
"The symposium highlighted rheumatic diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, gout, ankylosing spondylitis, osteoporosis and vitamin D deficiency.
"The objective of this scientific gathering of medical experts was discuss the recent advances in early diagnosis and management of various rheumatic diseases."
GMDC rheumatologist and symposium secretary general Dr Emil Hanna said the symposium was an ideal opportunity to update clinical skills and knowledge as well as network with renowned specialists.
"Biological agents for the management of rheumatic diseases, in addition to the surgical management of such diseases, were also discussed, covering a comprehensive range of treatment options," he said.
The symposium also included two workshops, on 'Low Back Pain' and 'Osteoporosis and Vitamin D'.
The symposium also carried nine National Health Regulatory Authority-approved CME (continuing medical education) credit hours.
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