LAHORE - As world is observing Psoriasis Day today (October 29), 125 million people globally and around 3 percent Pakistanis suffer from Psoriasis.

The Pakistan Psoriasis Foundation reports that in an analysis of survey data from 5000 psoriasis patients, 20 percent of women said that it was a very large problem in their everyday lives, compared to only 12 percent of men.

In addition, approximately 60 percent of women said that psoriasis interferes with their ability to enjoy life, as compared to 52 percent of men. Overall, women have a much more difficult time dealing with the psychological and social issues brought about by having psoriasis.

Psoriasis is a chronic, inflammatory skin disease clinically evident as raised inflamed scaly red skin lesions that crack and itch. Psoriasis has a bimodal age of disease onset. The first peak is around 20 and the second peak is around 60.

In psoriasis one-third of patients suffer under the age of 18 years, while plaque type of psoriasis is the commonest form of childhood 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. Women with psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis are markedly more likely than men to suffer from the emotional and psychological effects of the diseases,” reveals a survey data released by the Pakistan Psoriasis Foundation (PPF).

“The risk for diabetes mellitus rises substantially in patients with psoriasis, with a 62 percent increase in risk noted in patients with severe psoriasis,” said Dr Manzoor Memon, dermatologist and consultant at Karachi Institute of Skin Diseases. Early cardiovascular deaths have been reported in psoriatic patients as compared to general population, according to Memon.

“Psoriasis is considered as a systemic inflammatory disease causing various complications and co-morbidities which have significant impact on patients,” he added.

He further said that skin problems are generally the most common diseases seen in primary care setting all over the globe and its prevalence ranges from 20-50 percent in developing countries.

“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 minimised in the minds of health professionals, government policy makers, and the general public.”

Dr Memon said that Psoriasis of organic nature has tremendously attracted the attention of social and health scientists as it also impacts the mental health of people. “Women were more prone than men to experience anxiety, depression, anger, frustration, embarrassment and helplessness with regards to their psoriasis. In addition, they reported more day-to-day physical discomfort than men, including itching, irritation and pain from psoriasis,” he added.

The association of childhood obesity (overweight) and the psoriasis is considered among one of the prevalence factors. “The exact pathogenesis of psoriasis has not been completely discovered; however, it is agreed on that psoriasis has a genetic basis, as 23.4 percent to 71 percent of children will have a family history of psoriasis,” Dr Memon informed.

Regarding the treatment in childhood psoriasis, he said, topical treatment with corticosteroids and vitamin D analogues (calcipotriene and calcitriol) seems to be effective in mild plaque type psoriasis.