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Psoriasis drastically affects life of patients.

KARACHI -- As world marks the international psoriasis day, more than 125 million people worldwide are affected with this chronic inflammatory skin disease, said leading dermatologists on Saturday.

'There is need to increase awareness about the effect this disease has on peoples social life as well as mental wellbeing', they added.

Dr Zarnaz Wahid, Professor and Head of Department, Dermatology, Civil Hospital, said for many, psoriasis is still a relatively unknown disease and that there is a dire need to spread information about this debilitating disease, dispel common myths and direct them to seek proper treatment.

According to the Pakistan Psoriasis Foundation, approximately 60% of women said that psoriasis interferes with their ability to enjoy life, as compared to only 52 per cent of men.

According to an analysis of survey data from 5,000 psoriasis patients, 20% of women said that psoriasis was a very large problem in their everyday lives, compared to only 12% of men.

Overall, women have a much more difficult time dealing with the psychological and social issues brought about by having psoriasis, she added.

Psoriasis sufferers feel that people in general, including doctors, underestimate the overall impact the disease has on their lives. It is evident that the disease burden of psoriasis extends beyond the physical symptoms experienced by the patient, reasoned Dr Zarnaz.

Also, she added, patients with skin disease are at increased risk for the development of depression and anxiety. Psoriasis appears to have a greater impact on women's lives, she added.

Dr Tariq Rasheed, Consultant Dermatologist Jinnah Hospital Lahore said the patients believe that the disease is not curable and will cause them permanent disfigurement and greatly impacts their social life.

He added that general perception is that it's a highly infectious disease which is not the case. Unfortunately, general physicians are mostly unable to diagnose the disease accurately, while they do not follow international guidelines recommended treatment options. And they do not focus on patient education and proper counseling, Dr Tariq added.

Skin problems are generally the most common diseases seen in primary care setting all over the globe and its prevalence ranges from 20-50% in developing countries, said Dr Tariq, adding that there is a common misperception that skin diseases are somehow less serious than other medical illnesses.

This can be attributed, in part, to the fact that skin disorders are often chronic but not life threatening and so the perceived impact on the patient is more likely to be minimized in the minds of health professional and the general public, he added.

Dr Uzma Ali, Associate Dermatologist, Capital Hospital Islamabad said Psoriasis has a bimodal age of disease onset. The first peak is around late teens to early twenties and the second peak is around 50 years. Psoriasis is a chronic inflammatory, immune-mediated disease in which one-third of patients suffer under the age of 18 years, she added.

She said that the exact pathogenesis of psoriasis has not been completely discovered; however, it is agreed on that psoriasis has a genetic basis.

She further informed that there are associated diseases with psoriasis. Psoriasis can also cause inflammation of the joints, which is known as psoriatic arthritis. Almost 10 to 15 percent of people with psoriasis have psoriatic arthritis, which can even lead to disability and dependence in patients The risk for cardiovascular diseases can also rise patients with psoriasis, especially with severe psoriasis, said Dr. Uzma.

Health experts advised that people suffering from the disease should contact their healthcare provider to seek proper treatment and the misconceptions associated with this disorder should be removed.
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Publication:Balochistan Times (Baluchistan Province, Pakistan)
Geographic Code:9PAKI
Date:Oct 29, 2017
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