October 29: World Psoriasis Day. Theme: “Psoriasis inside out” The Myths/Misconceptions Behind the Skin Disease #pso-me #psa-me #NCDs #WPD17

The theme for World Psoriasis Day 2017 is “Psoriasis Inside Out” and it is all about showing all aspects of the disease and to give a face to pso/psa and to share stories. For that reason, we’re organising awareness-raising and advocacy campaigns to improve access to treatment, increase understanding and build unity among the psoriasis community.

World Psoriasis Day 2017

 Information for non-members of IFPA

 

29 October is the World Psoriasis Day. Psoriasis is so much more than what is seen on the outside. Psoriasis patients are, for example, at increased risk to develop so-called comorbidities and to suffer from other non-communicable diseases (NCDs) such as diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, metabolic syndrome, Crohn’s disease and more.

There is an urgent need to give a clear picture of the reality of the life faced by people living with pso/psa worldwide and to show that the disease has very many sides. This year’s theme “Psoriasis Inside Out” is all about showing all aspects of the disease and to give a face to pso/psa and to share stories. For that reason, IFPA and its members in 56 countries are organising awareness-raising and advocacy campaigns to improve access to treatment, increase understanding and build unity among the psoriasis community.

This year’s campaign aims at:

  • Giving a clear picture of Pso/Psa
  • Making people understand that Pso/psa is much more than just the psoriatic disease and to focus on NCD comorbidities
  • Showing that there is a person behind the disease that suffers daily from multiple conditions
  • Raising awareness about Pso/Psa having a major impact on the patients and their families lives

Psoriasis Myths and Misconceptions

Unlike other ailments, psoriasis can be seen on the skin and often people guess at what is wrong. They wonder if the lesions might be contagious, which they are not, or that the person who has psoriasis is unclean, overly nervous or high-strung, which they may be, but that is not the reason they have psoriasis. Sometimes they may believe the person who has the skin disorder did something to cause psoriasis to appear; but that, too, is also false.

Psoriasis is a disorder stemming from a physical defect just like other disorders, such as arthritis, asthma, diabetes or near-sightedness. It is very important to educate the public about psoriasis and not allow myths to spread.

Common myths about psoriasis:

Myth: “Psoriasis is contagious.”

Fact: Psoriasis, especially in moderate or severe forms, is highly visible. Because of the abnormal growth of skin cells, thick red scaly inflamed patches of skin appear. However, psoriasis is not contagious. You can’t ‘catch’ the disease from another person and you can’t pass it on to someone else by touching them or having close contact. Actually, psoriasis is as contagious as freckles!

Myth: “Psoriasis is just a skin disease. A cosmetic problem.”

Fact: Psoriasis is chronic disease of the immune system that causes the abnormal growth of skin cells. While a normal skin cell matures in 28 to 30 days and is shed from the skin’s surface unnoticed, a psoriatic skin cell takes only 3 to 4 days to mature and move to the surface, resulting in cells piling up and forming the scaly lesions. Psoriasis lesions can be painful and itchy, and they can crack and bleed. About 30 – 50% of all people with psoriasis also develop psoriasis arthritis which causes pain, stiffness and swelling in and around the joints. Skin inflammation in psoriasis is just the tip of the iceberg – there is increasing evidence suggesting links with serious health concerns such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, liver disease, depression and obesity.
Myth: “Psoriasis only affects patients physically.”

Fact: Aside from the physical burden of the disease, there is also a significant psychological and emotional impact experienced by psoriasis sufferers. People with psoriasis often report feelings of helplessness, hopelessness, anger, frustration and even depression related to the appearance of their skin and how others react to their condition. Some patients with severe psoriasis have even experienced thoughts of suicide. Many individuals react to their condition by wearing concealing clothing, curtailing everyday activities such as swimming or going to the gym if it means they will attract stares or negative comments. Psoriasis sufferers often compare the dysfunction and disability of the condition to that experienced by people with other chronic conditions such as diabetes or heart disease.

Myth: “Psoriasis is caused by poor hygiene.”

Fact: Psoriasis is a disease of the immune system and has nothing to do with poor hygiene. Triggers that can influence the course of psoriasis include infections, stress or worry, hormonal changes, injury to the skin, alcohol, obesity, poor diet, and certain medications.

Myth: “Psoriasis can be cured”

Fact: Psoriasis is a chronic, life-long disease. There is no known cure yet, but with new options and improved existing treatments, people have a wide variety of ways to help manage the symptoms of psoriasis. Until a cure for psoriasis is found, pharmaceutical research continues to hold the best hope for increasingly more effective therapies leading to better overall management of psoriasis. Research into the immune system has led to the development of new biological drugs that target the underlying causes of the condition.

Myth: “Psoriasis is easily diagnosed.”

Fact: Many conditions affecting the skin look alike, for example some early symptoms of psoriasis, such as itching and redness, look the same as eczema or atopic dermatitis. This can sometimes make the disease difficult to diagnose. It’s important to see a doctor who can do the necessary tests to make a proper diagnosis.

Myth: “Psoriasis cannot be inherited.”

Fact: While many patients with no family history develop psoriasis, there is a genetic link in approximately 40 – 60% of patients with the condition. Numerous studies point to a genetic predisposition, or inherited tendency, for these patients to develop psoriasis. Having the genetic predisposition, however, doesn’t necessarily mean that an individual will develop the disease. Other contributing factors, such as injury or infection, may act in conjunction with several genes, or specific patterns of genes, to set in motion the chain of events resulting in psoriasis.
IFPA States: We have been receiving requests and enquiries from all around the world from non-member organisations, individuals and medical institutions how they can support the World Psoriasis Day. We are thrilled to see such a huge interest in the World Psoriasis Day and we have developed the below guidelines on how you can support the World Psoriasis Day and the “Psoriasis Inside Out” campaign organised by IFPA.

  • If you are a representing a clinic or a hospital, please download our Psoriasis Inside Out poster and feel free to increase awareness on psoriasis in your medical institutions and among medical staff and patients. You can also contact one of our member associations in your respective country or region and organise a closed or a public event at your workplace to discuss psoriasis from patients’ perspective. You may also download and read our World Psoriasis Day Information Folder.
  • If you are representing a civil society organisation or an initiative group, please join the global conversation on the social media by using our official campaign hashtags #pso-me #psa-me #NCDs #WPD17 and actively engage in social media forums to raise awareness on psoriasis. You can also contact our member association in your country or region to organise a local campaign to attract the attention of the national or local government, media and medical professionals to psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis and help to eliminate stigmatisation and discrimination associated with psoriasis.
  • If you are representing a national or international media, you can contact us at IFPA or our member associations around the globe to access a media kit and support this global call. You can also download our issue brief on “Psoriasis can be disabling, but should not be a barrier to full participation in society” and “Brochure on Psoriasis.”
  • If you are representing a business, you can learn more about how you can support IFPA as a corporate actor. You can also contact IFPA or our member associations to learn about our work in this field.
  • If you are representing a government or public institution, you can cooperate with local and national psoriasis associations and invite local influencers and ambassadors to public events and television programmes to increase the impact of the campaign and build a more psoriasis-friendly and -aware setting. You can also emphasise to your government the need for further research on psoriasis, and identify successful approaches for integrating the management of psoriasis into existing services for no communicable diseases, as per the Resolution WHA 67.9 of the World Health Organisation.
  • If you are an individual, you can read about “Psoriasis Myths and Misconceptions” and increase awareness among your family and friends. Additionally, you can join the global conversation on the social media by using our official campaign hashtags #pso-me #psa-me #NCDs #WPD17. You may also support World Psoriasis Day activities such as forums, swim events, road shows, community events, and social media campaigns both before and on 29 October. A road to global understanding, tolerance and support starts with a small step at an individual level.  Even honouring the dark blue and orange ribbon on your shirt or dress will help.

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