Islamabad : As the world marks Psoriasis Day on October 29, the skin disease is affecting the lives of more than 125 million people worldwide.
Psoriasis is a chronic inflammatory skin disease clinically evident as raised inflamed scaly red skin lesions that crack and itch. Skin problems are generally the most common diseases are seen in primary care settings all over the globe and their prevalence ranges from 20-50% in developing countries.
Consultant dermatologist Dr. Nigar Kanwal believes that psoriasis awareness should be a part of Pakistan’s health policy and greater attention should be accorded to patient education and counseling.
Health experts and the public must exercise due diligence and challenge the myth that skin disease is less harmful because it’s not fatal, Dr. Nigar said. “This mindset needs to change because psoriasis affects a patient’s everyday life. People with the disease think that the society and doctors are ignoring their illness and the hardships of their lives,” she added.
Psoriasis has attracted the attention of social and health scientists, as well as psychologists who feel desperately concerned with the mental health of patients. Dr. Nigar said, according to the Pakistan Psoriasis Foundation data from 5,000 patients, 20% of women compared to only 12% men said psoriasis was a massive problem in their everyday lives. In addition, approximately 60% women as compared to 52% men said psoriasis interferes with their ability to enjoy life. Overall, women have greater difficulty dealing with the psychological and social issues associated with the disease.
Similarly, childhood psoriasis has a bimodal age of disease onset. The first peak is around 20 and the second peak is around 60. Psoriasis is a chronic inflammatory, immune-mediated disease in which one-third of patients suffer under the age of 18 years. The association of childhood obesity (overweight) and psoriasis is considered amongst one of the prevalent factors. The exact pathogenesis of psoriasis has not been completely discovered; however, it is agreed that psoriasis has a genetic basis, as 23.4% to 71% of children will have a family history of psoriasis.
Dr. Nigar said, psoriasis may trigger fatal associated diseases included psoriatic arthritis (10 to 15 percent), diabetes mellitus (62% in patients with severe psoriasis), depression, anxiety, and early cardiovascular deaths. People suffering from the disease should contact their healthcare provider to seek proper treatment, she stressed.