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Campaign eyed to resolve Psoriasis ‘misconceptions’ Bid to give new hope

KUWAIT CITY, Dec 3: In response to WHO’s adoption of the Psoriasis Resolution this year, there are plans to launch in Kuwait a disease awareness campaign entitled ‘Break Away to a New You’ aiming at resolving some of the misconceptions around Psoriasis as a disease. Dr Fatma AlKhwaja, Consultant Dermatologist at Asad Hamad Dermatology Center, Al Sabah Hospital, was talking to the Arab Times recently.

The campaign aims to give new hope for patients to break away from their fears about the disease and finding new treatment options for their conditions that will help them lead normal lives again. Explaining the disease Dr Fatma said Psoriasis is a systemic inflammatory disease with multiple comorbidities. It is characterized by multiple erythematouse scaly skin plaques which can appear on any site of the body but has predilection for elbows and knees, it can involve nails and scalps.

The illness itself can be associated with heart disease, also it distresses patients’ physical and psychological well-being, leading to reduced healthrelated quality of life and work productivity. The prevalence in Kuwait is 1% for severe psoriasis, 2-3% of mild psoriasis. Psoriasis can appear at any age. The prevalence is similar in both sexes, there 2 age peaks for the occurrence of it from 20-30 and from 50-60 in about 75% of patient the onset is before age of 40. Psoriasis is polygenic immune disease with multiple triggering factors- family history of the disease can increase the likelihood of having it if both parents are affected 41% of the offspring will have the disease, if one parent has it then only 14% will be affected. There are multiple triggering factors like trauma, stress, hypocalcemia, certain medications like lithium,B blockers , antimalarial drugs. There are no preventive measures of the disease but early treatment can prevent the comorbidities of the disease. Psoriasis has biologic treatments which are the newest form of treatment for psoriasis and it is directed against specific molecules which have a role in the development of psoriasis which mean that it is selective and specific unlike other immunological treatments.

There are newer biological treatments in the development currently that help patients ‘break away’ from their fears. Psoriasis can be significantly associated with many medical comorbidities especially the sever form like cardiovascular events, diabetes, hypertention, obesity, psoriatic arthritis, hyperlipidemia, cerebrovasculr accident. Treatment decreases the risk of comorbidities especially the cardiovascular complication and the insulin resistance. Psoriasis can be transformed from the chronic plaque form to pustular and erythrodermic form and the patient may need admission to control his disease. Psoriasis can be associated with anxiety in 30.2% or depression in 21.7% of patients and it can cause low self esteem and have a negative impact on the quality of life of the patients. Depression in psoriasis is now believed to be due to brain inflammation as part of systemic inflammation which happens in psoriasis. At the 66th World Health Assembly, WHO in association with International Federation of Psoriasis Associations (IFPA), recognized Psoriasis as a serious, chronic, inflammatory, non-communicable disease for which there is currently no cure. It has been connected to concealment, shame, discrimination and considerable suffering for many years of the patient’s life.

To address this issue, the Psoriasis Resolution was adopted by the WHO Member States who engaged in activities around 29th October to raise awareness on Psoriasis on a global front. Conceived by patients for patients, World Psoriasis Day is a truly global event that sets out to give an international voice to the more than125 million people with psoriasis/psoriatic arthritis around the world. Formed by a global consortium of patient associations from around the world, World Psoriasis Day aims to raise the profile of a condition which needs to be taken more seriously by national and international authorities. In Kuwait, we have come across considerable number of patients who have limited knowledge of the condition and face various forms of rejection in the social setting, even among family members.

This year, Psoriasis Uncovered survey that was conducted globally by AbbVie, states that internationally 62% of people with psoriasis reported negative impact on self-worth, and 50% felt that psoriasis has diminished their self-confidence. In addition to all the physical discomfort, patients often turn to overeating, smoking and heavy alcohol consumption. As the study reveals, of the 16000 patients who were surveyed: two-thirds experienced psoriasis before the age of 26, 62% reported negative impact on self-worth, 50% felt diminished self-confidence, 40% felt uncomfortable in intimate relationships, 14% have lost or quit their job and 21% cancelled five or more social engagements over the last year because of their psoriasis. Psoriasis is misunderstood in general as a contagious disease which is untrue and it make people avoid psoriatic patients and therefore leaves them isolated. Also itching lead to the patients being discriminated against as unclean. The society needs to be more accepting of the sufferers and understand the nature of the disease in order to aid their emotional well-being and place in the community.

By: Valiya S Sajjad Arab Times Staff

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