PORTLAND, Ore., - Data from a comprehensive
survey of nearly 5,000 people with psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis reveal
that African Americans, Asians and Latinos are more likely than Caucasians to
suffer psychological effects from the diseases. The study also found very
severe disease to be more common among members of these groups.
Psoriasis is the most prevalent autoimmune disease in the country, affecting
as many as 7.5 million Americans. Appearing on the skin most often as red
scaly patches that itch and bleed, psoriasis is chronic, painful, disfiguring
and disabling. Up to 30 percent of people with psoriasis develop psoriatic
arthritis, a related joint disease. There is no cure for psoriasis.
The study, released earlier this month by the National Psoriasis Foundation,
is the largest effort to date to gather information on the psychological,
emotional and social effects of the diseases. The results detail the extensive
impact of psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis on patients' participation in the
workforce as well as their emotional and social well-being.
Psoriasis is generally prevalent in people of Asian and some African descents,
according to clinical findings. However, the National Psoriasis Foundation
study found that people of minority descent who do develop psoriasis are more
likely to experience very severe disease. While only 8 percent of Caucasians
reported having very severe psoriasis, 10-23 percent in other racial groups
had very severe disease. Nearly a quarter of African American (23 percent)
respondents had very severe psoriasis.
"The prevalence of very severe psoriasis among minority respondents to the
survey may both explain and be reinforced by the negative psychological and
social effects they experience," said Mark Lebwohl, M.D., professor and
chairman of dermatology at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine and chair of the
National Psoriasis Foundation Medical Board. "In psoriasis, emotional and
physical distress feed off each other, and emotional stress is a documented
trigger for flares of both psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis."
The psychological and social effects reported by minority respondents in the
-- 72 percent of minority respondents said psoriasis interfered with
capacity to enjoy life, compared with just 54 percent of Caucasian
-- 75 percent said psoriasis impacted their overall emotional well-being,
compared with 62 percent of Caucasian respondents.
-- Minority respondents were also more likely than Caucasian respondents
feel self-conscious, embarrassed, angry or frustrated, and helpless
regard to their psoriasis.
-- Minority respondents were more likely to say that psoriasis made their
appearance unsightly, and that they choose clothing to conceal
"It is disturbing to learn the extent of the emotional and social implications
of the disease in minority populations," said Randy Beranek, president and CEO
of the National Psoriasis Foundation. "We are committed to ensuring that
everyone, regardless of their race or ethnicity, has access to treatment that
will reduce both physical and emotional effects of psoriatic disease."
The data in the survey were gathered by the National Psoriasis in 11 rounds of
telephone and internet surveys over six years. Nearly 5,000 people with
psoriasis participated, making this the largest study of its kind conducted
with the psoriasis population. Eighty-seven percent of respondents identified
their race as Caucasian; 2 percent African American; 2 percent Asian American;
4 percent Hispanic/Latino/Mixed ethnicity and 1 percent Native American.
The National Psoriasis Foundation encourages people with psoriasis and
psoriatic arthritis to seek treatment for their disease, and to access
information about education and support services including interactive online
resources and local support groups, at www.psoriasis.org.
To read the full report, go to
About the National Psoriasis Foundation
The National Psoriasis Foundation is the world's largest nonprofit patient
advocacy organization, and the voice for millions of Americans who are
affected by psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis. Our mission is to find a cure
for psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis and to eliminate their devastating
effects through research, advocacy and education. For more information, call
the Psoriasis Foundation, headquartered in Portland, Ore., at 800.723.9166, or
SOURCE National Psoriasis Foundation
Catie Coman of the National Psoriasis Foundation, +1-800-723-9166 ext. 367,
cell: +1-971-570-5884, firstname.lastname@example.org