Survey Reveals Psoriasis Patients’ Journeys Take Different Paths
— Online Community Helps Guide the Way —
August 9, 2017
A new Health Union national survey of more than 1,000 individuals diagnosed with psoriasis reveals that each person’s symptoms and treatment journey is different and some patients’ paths are more circuitous than others.
Psoriasis In America 2017 was conducted online between April 4, 2017 – May 26, 2017 and released through Health Union’s online community, PlaquePsoriasis.com. Survey respondents reported being frustrated with their psoriasis symptoms on a daily basis, with 70 percent reporting flaking skin, 62 percent itchy skin, and 44 percent cracked skin for all seven days during the past week.
Psoriasis is an autoimmune disease causing chronic inflammation of skin and other parts of the body. In the United States, there are an estimated 7.5 million adults with psoriasis. Plaque psoriasis is the most common type of psoriasis, representing about 80 percent of cases. Psoriasis symptoms have different levels of severity – from mild to severe – which are medically characterized by the percent of the body surface affected by skin lesions.
For many people, their psoriasis journey reveals signs of autoimmune disease that go beyond their skin. Among current symptoms reported by survey respondents, 58 percent are affected by pain and 66 percent are affected by fatigue. In addition, 45 percent report that their nails are currently affected, which is considered an early warning sign of psoriatic arthritis.
Because psoriasis is a chronic condition with no cure, many people can become discouraged with the available treatment options. Six out of 10 survey participants reported having never gone into remission from their psoriasis symptoms. Still, for some people, remission is possible. With treatment, many patients can have longer periods of remission and relief from skin symptoms.
Chris Petit, PlaquePsoriasis.com patient advocate agreed.
“Even when your skin is clear, the fear of it coming back is always there. You’re never 100 percent done with it until they find a cure,” Petit explained.
Almost half of survey respondents started on a prescription medication to treat their psoriasis within a month of diagnosis. Even with treatment, patients continue to deal with skin symptoms which may worsen before they get better. This stress and anxiety can cause further skin flares, adding to the frustration.
“Writing about my psoriasis journey on PlaquePsoriasis.com has been a great way to help others.” Petit added. “In the beginning it was rough. Over the years I’ve learned to embrace it. You can’t let the disease run your life – you have to take control. It doesn’t define who you are. “
In fact, 73 percent of survey respondents report turning to a psoriasis-specific website to learn more about managing their condition.
“The results of this survey highlight the complex journey facing people who live with psoriasis,” said Tim Armand, president and co-founder of Health Union. “People come to PlaquePsoriasis.com when they experience judgment and isolation and don’t know where else to turn. We are proud to be able to provide this much needed resource for support and information.”
A summary infographic of the survey results is also available. More details about the survey are available upon request.