NEW YORK, Sept. 3 Many of the nearly seven millionAmericans living with psoriasis may be faced with physical, emotional orsocial challenges as they struggle with public stigmas and misperceptions ofthis painful, chronic immune disorder that affects the skin. Today marks thelaunch of a nationwide awareness campaign, "Stop Hiding from Psoriasis," ledby Grammy Award-winning artist and psoriasis sufferer, LeAnn Rimes, who isworking with the American Academy of Dermatology (Academy) and NationalPsoriasis Foundation to raise awareness of psoriasis and encourage sufferersto talk to their dermatologist about the impact of the disease.
LeAnn knows first-hand the physical and emotional pain of psoriasis."Having battled severe psoriasis my whole life, I have gone to great lengthsto hide my condition, especially as a performer. Over the years, I've had todeal with the emotional and physical toll psoriasis has had on my self-esteemand confidence, but today I no longer let psoriasis define who I am or how Ifeel about myself. I hope by joining this effort and sharing my story, otherswill be empowered to stop hiding from their psoriasis and better manage theirdisease and not let it limit them or their aspirations."
Why is there a need for a psoriasis campaign?
Psoriasis has long been a misunderstood disease. A Psoriasis Foundationsurvey found that at least half of the patients surveyed feel their psoriasisleads others to stare or think the condition is contagious. In fact, this isthe reality of psoriasis:
Another recent survey of the general public found that awareness aboutpsoriasis and its impact is very low. Almost half of American adults surveyedadmitted that they are uncomfortable around those with psoriasis, particularlyin close settings like restaurant service or shaking hands in a meeting,suggesting that the misperception of psoriasis as a contagious disease is verystrong.
"Based on these findings, our task is to not only educate psoriasissufferers and the public about the significant physical impact of the disease,but perhaps more importantly, to clarify some of the misconceptions that drivethe painful emotional burden for patients," said dermatologist Mark Lebwohl,MD, Chairman, National Psoriasis Foundation Medical Board.
How will this campaign help elevate awareness of psoriasis?
To address the needs of the psoriasis community, the Academy and theFoundation, funded with support from the global health care company Abbott,joined forces to create the campaign, "Stop Hiding from Psoriasis." Thiseducational effort is meant not only to encourage people suffering frompsoriasis to see a dermatologist to better manage their disease, but also toeducate the general public about psoriasis and dispel common misperceptionsattached to the disease.
"Currently, there is no cure for psoriasis. Because psoriasis can bedebilitating physically, mentally, and emotionally, it's extremely importantfor sufferers to establish a relationship with a dermatologist and initiate anongoing discussion about their overall health -- including how their psoriasismay impact their health both physically and emotionally," said dermatologistDavid M. Pariser, M.D., President-Elect, American Academy of Dermatology."Together, psoriasis patients and their dermatologists can determine anappropriate plan to manage their disease. There's no reason for people to hideand suffer alone."
Learning More About Psoriasis
Psoriasis affects nearly seven million people in the U.S. The chronic,non-contagious immune disorder speeds the growth cycle of skin cells andresults in thick, scaly areas of skin. While psoriasis can occur in people ofall ages, it typically appears in patients between the ages of 15 and 35, andcurrently has no cure. The most common form, called plaque psoriasis, appearsas red, raised areas of skin covered with flaky white s