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April is National Rosacea Awareness Month
Posted: April 6, 2010
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Adding to the embarrassment is a common myth that rosacea sufferers, who often have a red face and nose, are heavy drinkers. In fact, while alcohol may aggravate the condition, the symptoms can be just as severe in a teetotaler. Another common misconception is that rosacea is caused by poor hygiene, while in reality it is unrelated to personal cleanliness.
Rosacea typically begins between the ages of 30 and 60 as a redness on the cheeks, nose, chin or forehead that comes and goes. Over time, the redness tends to become ruddier and more persistent, and visible blood vessels may appear. Left untreated, bumps and pimples often develop, and in severe cases—especially in men—the nose may become swollen and bumpy from excess tissue. This is the condition, called phymatous rosacea, that gave the comedian W.C. Fields his trademark red bulbous nose.
In many rosacea sufferers, the eyes are also affected, feeling irritated and appearing watery or bloodshot. Severe cases of this condition, known as ocular rosacea, can lead to corneal damage and reduced vision.
In a recent study, Dr. Maeve McAleer and colleagues at the School of Public Health and Population Science, University College, Dublin, found that 14.4% of 1,000 subjects examined in Ireland had rosacea. Moreover, in a 1989 study of 800 office workers in Sweden, the prevalence of rosacea was 10%, including 14% in women and 6% in men.
“While these incidence rates are very high, rosacea is more commonly seen in fair-skinned individuals, and an assessment of rosacea in the U.S. must take into account the diversity of its population,” Dr. Wilkin said.