Psoriasis is a chronic skin disease that affects over 100,000 people in Ireland. Anyone can develop psoriasis and it is equally common in men and women. The Irish Skin Foundation has announced the launch of the #SaySomething campaign to mark World Psoriasis Day.
l Psoriasis is a chronic inflammatory skin disease.
l It has no known cause.
l The tendency toward developing psoriasis is inherited in genes.
l Psoriasis is not contagious.
l Psoriasis gets better and worse spontaneously and can have periodic remissions.
l Psoriasis is controllable with medication.
l It is currently not curable.
l There are many promising therapies, including newer biologic drugs.
Most healthcare professionals, including dermatologists, underestimate the effects of psoriasis on people's lives, says Professor Brian Kirby, Consultant Dermatologist, St Vincent's University Hospital, Dublin.
A new analysis of the impact of psoriasis in Ireland has suggested that almost one in four people with the illness suffer from depression at some stage in their disease. People with the disease are more prone to getting high blood pressure. Up to 30 per cent of people in Ireland with moderate to severe psoriasis will develop psoriatic arthritis. It is recommended that doctors ask all patients with psoriasis about joint discomfort.
Prof Brian Kirby said: "Stark statistics similar to the data highlighted here is what recently persuaded the World Health Organisation to adopt a special resolution acknowledging that psoriasis can have serious physical as well as psychological implications.
"Psoriasis is a persistent inflammatory condition that has an impact on sufferers that is frequently underestimated or unrecognised. It should never be characterised as a 'bit of a rash'. It remains a highly stigmatised condition and many who experience psoriasis carry a heavy burden, often suffering in silence. It's important that they know that resources and support are available from the Irish Skin Foundation."
It is estimated that 100,000 in Ireland people suffer with chronic plaque psoriasis.
Speaking on behalf of psoriasis patients, Caroline Irwin, Board Member of the Irish Skin Foundation, and herself a psoriasis patient, said: "This is the first time that a digital campaign to assist psoriasis sufferers has been launched in Ireland. On behalf of all psoriasis patients, I welcome this initiative taken by the Irish Skin Foundation and AbbVie.
"It will greatly improve communication channels between both the psoriasis patient and their doctor, resulting in the better treatment of this skin condition for all concerned."