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The National Rosacea Society (NRS) announced the estimated number of Americans now suffering from rosacea has increased to 16 million, while untold millions more may be in temporary remission. April is designated as Rosacea Awareness Month by the NRS to alert the public to the warning signs of this red-faced, acne-like and often life-disruptive disorder, and the importance of seeking early diagnosis and treatment.
“Many people assume that rosacea is simply a sunburn or complexion problem that will eventually go away, and fail to realize they have a chronic condition that may get worse without medical treatment and lifestyle modifications,” said Dr. Jonathan Wilkin, chairman of the NRS medical advisory board. He noted the steady growth and aging of the population during the past decade have significantly raised the incidence of this widespread but poorly understood disorder, and its effects are now in full force among the massive numbers in the baby boom generation.
The NRS had previously estimated the number of rosacea sufferers in the United States at 14 million, and recent epidemiological studies have also found the incidence may be much higher. Despite its prevalence, however, most Americans are unaware of its signs and symptoms, and medical data suggest that only a small percentage of rosacea sufferers are being treated.
“It’s especially important for people to know about rosacea, not only because of its potential for the development of other skin and serious eye effects, but its negative impact on personal appearance can be even more devastating to their emotional, social and professional lives,” Dr. Wilkin said.
In a NRS surveys of more than 1,200 rosacea patients, more than 76% said their condition had lowered their self-confidence and self-esteem, and 41% said it caused them to avoid public contact or cancel social engagements. Among those with severe symptoms, nearly 70% said it had adversely affected their professional lives, and nearly 30% said they even missed work because of its effect on their personal appearance.