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Social Isolation And Feelings Of Embarrassment Show That Physical Effect Of Psoriasis Is Only One Of Many Challenges Faced By Kiwis With The Condition
WELLINGTON, New Zealand, 26 March, 2012 — Abbott today announced the results of the first Psoriasis Uncovered survey,* revealing that the majority (94%) of New Zealanders living with psoriasis feel embarrassed about their condition.
The survey found that more than two thirds of patients (77%) try to hide the disease, and of this number nearly all try to hide it not only from the public (94%), but also from extended family (46%) and even their own children (25%).
The national survey of 308 New Zealanders was commissioned by Abbott to discover the burden on a person’s life of living with psoriasis – a chronic autoimmune disease that appears on the skin.1 The Psoriasis Uncovered survey was developed in consultation with leading dermatologists and supported by the Southland Psoriasis Association. The survey not only uncovered the isolation associated with the condition, it also found that psoriasis has a profound impact for some on major life choices, including career selection.
“It is well established by international studies that psoriasis presents a strong psychosocial burden affecting multiple facets of a person’s life,” said Dr. Nicholas Birchall, MB, ChB, FRACP, Auckland Dermatology. “This new local survey corroborates the international findings and also shows that the condition can be terribly isolating and its affect can go far beyond just the skin.”
The survey also discovered that 47% of patients experience the onset of psoriasis at a young age. Nearly half of all sufferers reported an onset of psoriasis under the age of 20, which is a formative time in any person’s life, especially with regard to long-term self-image and feelings of self-worth.
“The longer psoriasis goes untreated, the worse the impact can be on a person’s quality of life,” said Dr. Birchall. “It is therefore crucial that those living with psoriasis discuss ways to better manage their condition with their dermatologist and seek out information on the available treatment options.”
Although many people living with psoriasis believed themselves to be generally healthy, the survey revealed that many were dealing with at least one other serious health issue – with stress (35%), weight problems (29%), joint pain (28%) and psoriatic arthritis (26%) the most commonly reported associated conditions.
“What is not widely known about psoriasis is that there may be a higher risk of developing other serious health issues,” said Patricia Officer, President, Southland Psoriasis Association. “It is important that people with psoriasis are aware of this so informed decisions can be made when managing their health.”
Survey results also revealed that most people do not receive help with their psoriasis, with women more likely to have no support at all (45%). Furthermore, respondents strongly indicated that more information on psoriasis is needed, with nearly three-quarters of respondents (74%) stating they want to know more about the condition and almost all (97%) indicating they want more information on the latest developments.
“People with psoriasis should not have to suffer in silence,” added Officer. “There is support out there. Visit our new website and review the new information. Consider then if becoming a member of the Southland Psoriasis Association Support Group would be of help.”
More information about psoriasis and contact details for the Southland Psoriasis Association can be found at www.psoriasis.org.nz. Read the Survey Fact Sheet here.