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Press Alert: Psoriasis awareness must be brought to light

125 million people all over the world wants understanding. At the 21 World Dermatology Congress, specialists and patients brought to light the latest truths about a disease that most of us, including doctors, still know little about.

Psoriasis is far from being just a mere "cosmetic issue," it can increase the risk of developing heart diseases and potentially other serious health conditions. Most of all, people who are affected by psoriasis suffer from the fact that the most important social organ is involved: skin. The pain and embarrassment that a lot of people experience can lead to depression and social isolation. Often the public does not understand psoriasis and they believe it is a contagious disease, which it is not. Health policies - in many countries- still maintain restrictions on treatment coverage of psoriasis medications, even though the "biological" drugs are changing the diseaseís course of history.

 Yesterday, in Buenos Aires, within the XXI Dermatology World Congress context, the International Federation of Psoriasis Associations (IFPA) announced the World Psoriasis Day commemoration, which has been held since 2004 every October 29th. Mr. Jan Arne Monsbakken, World Psoriasis Day chairman, emphasized that this year the main messages are the "co-morbidities" and "burden of disease" associated with psoriasis. Christopher Griffiths, Professor of Dermatology and Head at the Greater Manchester Dermatology Centre and the School of Translational Medicine at the University of Manchester, who is a recognized scientist regarding psoriasis, revealed that "specially in severe cases, psoriasis is related to problems such as hypertension, diabetes and obesity. Even though without other associated risk factors, there is a greater chance of suffer heart attacks, cardiovascular accidents and other circulatory problems.  Millions of people around the world suffer from psoriatic arthritis that seriously affects the joints. "Nowadays, psoriasis should be considered a chronic, systemic, treatable disease like diabetes," Griffiths summarized.

"Since the skin is the main organ that human beings use for social contact,¬† psoriasis always affects relationships with other people," Ricardo Galimberti pointed out, an Argentine recognized specialist and World Congress of Dermatology President. He underlined the importance of psychological support for patients. Griffiths did not hesitate to report that "a lot of dermatologists are not trained to recognize the psychological impact of psoriasis on peopleís quality of life."

Patient also testified to increase understanding about psoriasis. Top model, CariDee English, who is 21 years old and suffers from psoriasis since she was 5, told about an episode that happened when she was 15. She was asked  to leave a swimming pool "because they thought it was contagious." The point is "people do not understand what psoriasis is and how it effects your life." She went on to say,"I have psoriasis but I do not let psoriasis have me."
Today she does not have any sign of psoriasis thanks to new "biological" medications.

The Argentine journalist Silvia FernŠndez Barrio, who suffers from psoriasis since she was 18, told that "a lot of people with psoriasis are ashamed of themselves and they hide under their clothes." Nowadays psoriasis can be controlled better with new medications, though not all treatments work for each individual.

The International Federation of Psoriasis Associations (IFPA) unites patient associations from all over the world. Through different actions like the World Psoriasis Day, it works towards guaranteeing universal access to treatments, increasing awareness and understanding of this disease, giving support to the patients and putting an end to discrimination against the more than 125 million people who suffer from psoriasis all over the world.


World of Psoriasis is presented by IFPA

Sponsors 2007

Merck Serono
Merck Serono are the founding sponsors of World Psoriasis Day


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