Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Awareness & Action

What exactly is psoriasis? Let's start with what it's not. It is not contagious and it is not just a skin disease. Psoriasis is a chronic inflammatory disease of the immune system. The exact cause is unknown; however, researchers believe that heredity, environment, and the immune system may also play a role in psoriasis. According to the National Institutes of Health, as many as 7.5 million Americans have psoriasis. About 10 percent to 30 percent of people with psoriasis also develop psoriatic [sore-ee-AA-tic] arthritis, which causes pain, stiffness and swelling in and around the joints.

But for millions of Americans, psoriasis is a daily impediment, one that dramatically and negatively impacts their quality of life. For many, it is debilitating. A National Institute of Mental Health-sponsored study in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology found that "Patients with psoriasis reported reduction in physical functioning and mental functioning comparable to that seen in cancer, arthritis, hypertension, heart disease, diabetes, and depression." Psoriasis hurts. Psoriasis itches. Some people have extensive coverage—on their arms, legs, trunk, face, and/or genitals

But what is striking and even less well known is how devastating psoriasis can be emotionally and psychologically. It is not just a disease that harms the body. Psoriasis patients have a higher incidence of depression, and even of suicidal thoughts. The visible nature of psoriasis exacerbates its interference with intimacy and one’s sense of self. Self-esteem can take a hit

So what's going on in the community?

Between 1995-2005, as the federal government DOUBLED research funding for other diseases, psoriasis research funding FELL. It is finally rising, but psoriasis research is still $40 MILLION short of where it would be had it been treated fairly since 1995. You can click here to write to Congress in support of funding & research.

If you have a child with Psoriasis, you can go here to receive back to school resources that includes: a fact sheet on children's psoriasis that parents can print off the internet and deliver to their child's school teacher; and a podcast interview with a leading pediatric dermatologist discussing how to treat psoriasis in children and how to help them cope with it.

Short Sleve day is coming! September 12-14 -You can go here to get all the info

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