Psoriasis more severe, with more psychological effects, in minorities

January 28, 2010
RheumatologyNetwork Staff

The Journal of Musculoskeletal Medicine, The Journal of Musculoskeletal Medicine Vol 27 No 2, Volume 27, Issue 2

Psychological effects resulting from psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis (PsA) are more likely to occur in African Americans, Asians, and Latinos than in whites, according to a recent National Psoriasis Foundation (NPF) survey report. In addition, very severe disease is more common among members of these groups.

Psychological effects resulting from psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis (PsA) are more likely to occur in African Americans, Asians, and Latinos than in whites, according to a recent National Psoriasis Foundation (NPF) survey report. In addition, very severe disease is more common among members of these groups.

Psoriasis is the most prevalent autoimmune condition in the United States, affecting as many as 7.5 million Americans, and up to 30% of persons with psoriasis also will have PsA, the NPF noted. The survey of nearly 5000 persons with psoriasis and PsA is the largest effort to date to gather information on the psychological, emotional, and social effects of the diseases. The results also detail the extensive impact of the conditions on patients’ participation in the workforce.

Survey highlights include the following:
•Only 8% of white respondents reported having very severe psoriasis compared with 10% to 23% of respondents in other racial groups; close to one-fourth of the African American respondents had very severe psoriasis.
•Just 54% of white respondents reported that psoriasis interfered with their capacity to enjoy life compared with 72% of minority respondents.
•Overall emotional well-being was affected by psoriasis in 75% of minority respondents compared with 62% of white respondents.
•With regard to their psoriasis, minority respondents were more likely than white respondents to feel self-conscious, embarrassed, angry or frustrated, and helpless.
•Minority respondents were more likely to say that psoriasis made their appearance unsightly and that they choose clothing to conceal their psoriasis.

The prevalence of very severe psoriasis among minority survey respondents may both explain and be reinforced by the negative psychological and social effects they experience, the NPF noted. The data were gathered in 11 rounds of telephone and Internet surveys over 6 years. To read the full survey report, go to http://www.psoriasis.org/survey.

In related news, the federal government has approved $1.5 million for the first-ever psoriasis patient registry at the CDC. The registry will provide insight into how psoriasis and PsA affect patients by aggregating data from the profiles of thousands of persons who have psoriatic disease. By helping researchers and clinicians discover critical patterns in treatments and outcomes, patient registries for other chronic diseases have been credited with improving treatment by as much as 50%, the NPF suggested, noting that this landmark decision opens the door for future federal funding of psoriasis research.

For more information about the survey or the registry, visit the NPF Web site at http://www.psoriasis.org. Or, contact the organization at National Psoriasis Foundation, 6600 SW 92nd Ave, Suite 300, Portland, OR 97223-7195; telephone: (503) 244-7404 or (800) 723-9166; fax: (503) 245-0626.

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