August is Psoriasis Awareness Month which is dedicated to the 125 million people suffering from this painful condition across the globe. Psoriasis Awareness Month was established by the National Psoriasis Foundation (NPF); over the past 20 years the foundation has encouraged monumental advances in the treatment of psoriasis as well as the management of the disease. The purpose of the month is not only to raise awareness and improve treatment but also to dispel the false stigma that psoriasis is contagious and empower psoriasis patients.
Psoriasis is a chronic, systemic disease of the immune system appearing on the skin as flaky, red patches. It affects 2% of the British population. The disease can also affect the nails and cause joint pain which can be extremely painful. Approximately a third of people who suffer from moderate to severe psoriasis will develop psoriatic arthritis causing further swelling and stiffness in the joints.
NPF is the world’s largest non-profit organisation committed to providing services and successful treatment for people with the psoriatic disease while increasing research to find a cure. The foundation serves 2.1 million people annually through its psoriasis education and advocacy initiatives and its volunteering opportunities across the globe allow people who are affected by psoriasis to voice their experiences. NPF has funded almost $15 million into research grants and fellowships stimulating more attempts to improve the lives of those affected and to obtain a cure. In 2006, the NPF launched the National Psoriasis Victor Henschel BioBank where biological samples and medical information are used by scientists to make advances from the current field of psoriatic disease genetics. The BioBank has successfully completed research studies into different genetic factors and has uncovered potential causes of the immune disease such as a rare mutation in the CARD14 gene which when triggered by an environmental factor can result in psoriasis. Another study, using multiple samples of psoriatic DNA, identified 15 sections of DNA called loci that comprise genetic variations related to psoriatic disease. The study also discovered that some of these loci are consistent with loci associated with Crohn's disease.
Despite a wide range of treatments for psoriasis being available, there is no cure. The effectiveness of the treatments can vary depending on the extent and location of the psoriasis. Currently there are three categories of treatment:
There are several ways you can help spread awareness of psoriasis throughout August:
If you, a member of your family or a friend have concerns about the diagnosis or management of psoriasis, our specialist team may be able to assist.