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Women with psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis are markedly more likely than men to suffer from the emotional and psychological effects of the diseases, according to survey data released by the National Psoriasis Foundation.
Psoriasis is one of the most prevalent autoimmune diseases 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. Additionally, up to 30% of people with psoriasis develop psoriatic arthritis, a related joint disease. There is no cure for psoriasis.
The National Psoriasis Foundation study, one of the largest effort to-date to gather information on the psychological, emotional and social effects of the diseases, details its extensive impact on patients' participation in the workforce as well as their emotional and social well-being, particularly for women.
"Psoriasis appears to have a greater impact on women's lives across all the psycho-social measures used in this survey," said Mark Lebwohl, MD, professor and chairman of dermatology at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine and chair of the National Psoriasis Foundation Medical Board. "This level of emotional distress has implications for the progression and treatment of the diseases themselves, as stress can be a trigger for flares of both psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis in many patients."
Twenty percent of women said psoriasis is a very large problem in their everyday lives, compared with just 12% of men. Two-thirds of women (67%) said that psoriasis affects their overall emotional well-being, compared with 57% of men. And women were 12% more likely than men to say psoriasis interferes with their capacity to enjoy life (59% versus 52%).