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You may not realize that psoriasis is more than just a “skin” thing. According to the National Psoriasis Foundation (NPF), it’s the most common autoimmune disease in the country, affecting up to 7.5 million Americans. Psoriasis occurs when the immune system sends out faulty signals that speed up the growth cycle of skin cells. It causes the skin to appear as red, scaly patches that itch, crack and bleed. It’s not contagious, but because of its visible nature on the skin, people with psoriasis often face stigma and public discrimination.

Psoriasis can cause considerable emotional distress for people, including decreased self-esteem, and an increased incidence of mood disorders, such as depression. In fact, people with psoriasis are twice as likely to be depressed as the general public. They are also more likely to have low self-esteem, anxiety and to have increased thoughts of suicide.

Impact on quality of life 

In addition to the physical effects, psoriasis can exact an emotional toll and has a profound impact on quality of life. The NPF Mental Health Brief states that more than 80 percent of people with psoriatic disease report it to be a moderate or large problem in their everyday life.

More than 60 percent of people with psoriasis say that it impacts their overall emotional wellbeing and nearly three-quarters of patients report feeling angry, frustrated and helpless with regard to their psoriasis.

Impact on women and minorities

Women, in particular, are vulnerable to the psychological and social issues of psoriasis. A National Psoriasis Foundation study found that:

  • Women are more likely to say that psoriasis has a negative impact on their daily life.
  • Women are particularly sensitive to the effects of psoriasis on their appearance. Sixty-eight percent of women said psoriasis makes their appearance “unsightly.” They’re 33 percent more likely to alter clothing choices to conceal psoriasis.

Additionally, minorities report a greater impact of psoriasis on their daily lives with nearly three-quarters of minorities reporting that psoriasis interfered with their capacity to enjoy life compared to 54 percent of Caucasians.

Resources to help 

If you have psoriasis or love someone who does, you’re not alone! The National Psoriasis Foundation has many resources to help you cope with psoriasis. Visit us online at www.psoriasis.org.

Connect with others affected by psoriasis and get tips and information to help you live well on the Psoriasis Foundation Facebook and Twitter.

National Psoriasis Foundation (NPF) is the world’s largest organization serving people with psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis. The organization’s priority is to provide the information and services for people to take control of their condition, while increasing research to find a cure.

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