Even Mild Psoriasis a Problem for Sufferers

Many with small patches on skin dissatisfied with treatment

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THURSDAY, April 1, 2004 (HealthDayNews) -- Many Americans with small areas of psoriasis on their skin report high levels of dissatisfaction with their current treatment and also regard psoriasis as a problem in their daily life.

That's according to a study released in a recent special issue of the Journal of Investigative Dermatology.

The study found that more than 2 percent of American adults (more than 4.5 million people) have been diagnosed with psoriasis. The skin disease occurs when faulty immune system signals cause skin to regenerate every three to four days, instead of the usual 30-day cycle.

This causes extra skin cells to build up on the skin surface. These excess skin cells form red, flaky, scaly lesions that can itch, crack, and bleed. The condition can be extremely painful.

The study was based on results of a survey commissioned by the National Psoriasis Foundation. The survey included more than 27,000 Americans aged 18 or older.

"All too often we hear from psoriasis patients who have given up on treatment, and who have given up hope. Psoriasis has such a significant negative impact on lives -- physically, socially, and emotionally -- and yet society often trivializes the disease," Gail M. Zimmerman, president and chief executive officer of the National Psoriasis Foundation, said in a prepared statement.

"This study is a powerful reminder that even those patients whose psoriasis is not considered 'severe' by traditional measurements nevertheless deserve and need additional treatment options that will work for them," Zimmerman said.

She noted there are about 40 psoriasis drugs under development or in clinical trials. The recent discovery of several genes implicated in psoriasis is an important research advance.

The National Psoriasis Foundation receives major funding from a number of drug manufacturers.

More information

The American Academy of Dermatology has more about psoriasis.

SOURCE: National Psoriasis Foundation, news release, March 2004

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