Decades ago, psoriasis was considered just a cosmetic skin condition which caused patches of inflamed raised plaques on the body.
Decades later, we know psoriasis is not just a skin condition.
Affecting an estimated 60 million people worldwide, psoriatic disease is categorized by the Journal of Psoriasis and Psoriatic Arthritis as an ‘immune-mediated disease’; a disease without an explicit cause induced by a dysfunctional immune system and characterized by inflammation.
On the surface, this overactive immune system speeds up skin cell growth – instead of growing and shedding in a month like normal skin cells, the cells grow within a few days and do not shed.
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Below the surface, things get more complicated as the inflammation caused by psoriasis can affect many other organs and tissues, which can put 1 in 3 individuals with psoriasis at risk of developing psoriatic arthritis and raise their chances of developing other comorbidities.
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- High blood pressure
- Chronic kidney disease
- Metabolic syndrome
- Cardiovascular disease (CVD)
- Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease
- High cholesterol
- Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
- Insulin resistance
- Depression, anxiety and other mental health issues
- Inflammatory bowel disease
- Sleep apnea
Risk elevation of these comorbidities is not fully understood with current science, although systemic inflammation throughout the body is thought to play a role. It can also be even less understood or acknowledged by the general public and those with psoriasis.
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Consequently, misunderstandings can occur, as noted by our touchIMMUNOLOGY Expert Faculty Member, Tiago Torres (Universitário do Porto, Portugal):
“There is still the misconception that psoriasis is a contagious disease … this unawareness by the general population is one of the main causes of stigmatisation of patients with psoriasis, already burdened by the physical and psychological impact of the disease.”
Arguably, a lack of worldwide data could fuel misconceptions like these as well as limit research – 81% of countries have no epidemiological data on psoriasis, limiting our ability to study how it affects those of different genetic and geographic backgrounds. Even the 19% of countries reporting on data still have extensive gaps regarding prevalence and incidence rates. (GPA.org)
READ: The role of interleukin-23 inhibition in the treatment of psoriatic arthritis
Knowing all this, and recognising everything we do not know, is why…
29th October 2022 is dedicated to World Psoriasis Day.
For the last decade, IFPA has hosted World Psoriasis Day to unite the global community, raise awareness and drive support for those living with psoriatic disease. Today, World Psoriasis Day is observed in over 50 countries and can be found on social media by following #WorldPsoriasisDay.
“Raising awareness of the disease among the general population and psoriasis patients is still highly important.” insists Tiago Torres.
“… psoriatic patients [should know] that highly effective and safe long-term therapies are currently available, so early diagnosis and early treatment [can] prevent cumulative life course impairment and optimise the quality of life over time.”
touchIMMUNOLOGY supports World Psoriasis Day and its mission to raise awareness of how the potential comorbidities of psoriasis can affect an individual’s life, dispel misconceptions and empower governments to offer greater treatment access. Learn more by delving into our content library of video interviews, conference highlights, and to learn more and stay up-to-date.
Alternatively, you can get in touch to find out how you could benefit from our educational activities.