Psoriasis linked to worse
quality of life for family members, too
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[June 07, 2014]
By Shereen Lehman
NEW YORK (Reuters Health) -
Both psoriasis patients and the people who live with
them say psoriasis negatively impacts their quality of
life, according to a new study. And both groups tend to
report more depression and anxiety than people not
affected by the condition.
About 7.5 million Americans have psoriasis, which is characterized
by itchy, painful plaques on the skin.
Previous research has found that people with psoriasis have a higher
risk of cardiovascular and autoimmune diseases and develop more
infections than those without psoriasis. The condition has also been
linked to psychiatric disorders.
“The number of studies per year about quality of life in psoriasis
keeps growing year after year and thanks to these studies we know
that psoriatic patients have an impairment of their quality of life
as well as higher levels of anxiety and depression, feelings of
stigmatization, higher risk of suicidality and lower employment
rate, among other problems,” Dr. Eliseo Martinez-Garcia told Reuters
Health in an email.
Martinez-Garcia is a dermatologist at Virgen de las Nieves
University Hospital in Granada, Spain and the lead author of the new
“However, very few studies have addressed how this problem can
affect (the) people who live with these patients, and none of them
had evaluated globally quality of life, anxiety and depression,”
Martinez-Garcia said. “The impact of the dermatological conditions
on patients’ cohabitants has been largely ignored.”
The researchers had noticed that cohabitants of patients had
difficulty coping with issues related to psoriasis, like having to
avoid activities such as travel or social meetings, as well as
spending time every day to help the patient with treatment.
To take a more scientific look, they studied 130 adults: 34 people
with psoriasis, 49 people who lived with psoriasis patients and 47
healthy people who did not live with psoriasis patients, to serve as
a comparison group.
The impact of psoriasis on quality of life was measured with
10-question surveys taken by the patients and the cohabitants.
Depression and anxiety were measured with separate surveys completed
by members of all three groups.
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The researchers found that psoriasis impaired the quality of life of
88 percent of the cohabitants and that their quality of life scores
were closely linked with the scores of the patients.
One-third of cohabitants reported being highly affected by the
psoriasis and only a few felt no effect.
Anxiety and depression levels did not differ between patients and
cohabitants, but were significantly higher than levels seen in the
comparison group, according to findings published in the Journal of
the American Academy of Dermatology.
The authors say their results suggest that doctors who treat
patients with psoriasis should use a more integrated approach that
takes family members into consideration.
Martinez-Garcia said there are a wide range of therapeutic options
for patients with psoriasis, from the classical topical treatments
to the more sophisticated new drugs.
“A lot of psoriatic patients that are not doing any treatment would
be surprised about how much their condition could be improved,”
Martinez-Garcia said. “Moreover, some centers and patients
associations are already providing specific psychological support
for these patients.”
SOURCE: http://bit.ly/1hAdluY Journal of the American Academy of
Dermatology, online May 14, 2014.
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