Psoriasis–a painful, disfiguring and disabling disease

Psoriasis–a painful, disfiguring and disabling disease

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ONE of the most prevalent autoimmune (body going against itself) skin diseases in developing countries is Psoriasis. According to a report by the World Health Organization (WHO), around 125 million suffer from this disease globally. Similarly, the report mentioned that nearly 3-5% of people in Pakistan are suffering from psoriasis. Despite the above, majority of people in Pakistan are unaware of psoriasis, let alone its proper treatment. To make matters worse, a lot of people mistakenly consider Psoriasis to be a contagious disease. As a result, numerous patients often face discrimination and remain undertreated.
One of the most common symptoms of psoriasis is the appearance or existence of raised, red, itchy, scaly patches of thick skin mainly on the knees, elbow, scalp or back regions. In terms of its severity, the disease is divided into three categories, including mild, moderate and severe.
About 30% of people with psoriasis also develop psoriatic arthritis, a form of arthritis that causes swelling, stiffness and pain in and around the joints. Psoriasis impacts other body functions as well and can potentially lead to disability in severe cases. As compared to the general population, psoriasis patients are always at high risk of early death due to Heart involvement.
For more than 50% of psoriasis patients in Pakistan, as per PPF statistics, psoriasis limits their freedom as well their ability to enjoy life. However, the disease tends to be a bigger challenge, particularly for the majority of women who have to deal with numerous social and psychological issues brought about by having psoriasis, says PPF.
Particularly in this part of the world, the social cost of being a chronic psoriasis patient is quite high, as people suffering from a skin disease, including psoriasis, are seen with suspicion of transmitting the disease to other people. Perceived as untouchables, some patients are even reduced into ostracized species and have to go through psychological trauma as well. The good news is that there are effective treatments available to help manage psoriasis and to help people get better and improve their quality of life. The type of treatment depends on the extent of the disease and how it has been affecting the individual living with it. The treatment varies from tropical cream, ointment to light therapy, oral medicines and the most advanced injectable medication, which is highly effective due to its “treat-to-target” approach commonly known as Biologics. Currently, these biologics are freely available across the world except for Pakistan.