A survey of nearly 500 New Zealanders living with
psoriasis reveals more pain is associated with the chronic skin
condition than just that from the scaly red skin lesions caused
by the condition.
Psoriasis Association Southland (PAS) - the only support
group for people living with psoriasis in New Zealand - and
drug company AbbVie, in conjunction with dermatologists,
recently surveyed 492 New Zealanders living with psoriasis.
Association president Patricia Officer Young, of Gore, said
the survey revealed that people with psoriasis often had
other associated conditions, such as psoriatic arthritis,
cardiovascular disease, diabetes, colitis and Crohn's
''So psoriasis should be treated and there's plenty of great
medication and treatments out there for people to try, until
they get one that suits them.''
The survey revealed that 98% of the respondents experienced
flaking skin, 70% experienced bleeding and 61% experienced
pain associated with lesions, also called plaques.
Half of the respondents who reported living with moderate
psoriasis said they had never received care from a
dermatologist for management of their condition.
Of those with severe psoriasis, 21% had never seen a
dermatologist for their condition.
Between 40% and 50% of respondents used only creams and
lotions to treat their psoriasis.
Mrs Officer Young said anyone with psoriasis should see a
''They are specialists in skin conditions.''
Dermatologist Dr Steven Lamb said it was important people
with psoriasis received effective treatment for it, as well
as for other associated conditions, which could also include
depression, weight gain, joint pain and high blood pressure.
Of the respondents, 35% reported weight problems, 36% stress
and 31% mental health issues.
People needed to be accurately diagnosed early and put on a
course to effectively manage the disease, he said.
''We need to set the bar higher to achieve a better level of
control of psoriasis and work more closely with our patients
to manage their associated health conditions.''
The survey revealed 60% of respondents had experienced a
negative reaction from others about their skin condition and
22% reported that these comments were very or extremely
Mrs Officer Young said she got psoriasis at the age of 16.
''It was a real bad time because you are young and you were
told there was no cure, but there is a light at the end of
Treatments were getting better, she said.
''I went to a conference in July last year in Stockholm and I
came away with all this hope because the amount of research
overseas is mind-blowing; it is absolutely amazing ... There
is definite hope. It's not going to be tomorrow, but it will
The association had released three educational booklets to
improve understanding of psoriasis and assist people with
psoriasis to better manage their condition.
Raising awareness of psoriasis was critically important to
ensure early intervention and improved management of the
condition, Mrs Officer Young said.
''The survey findings indicate New Zealanders with psoriasis
don't get to a dermatologist quickly enough to access
comprehensive information and effective treatment options.''
Copies of the booklets can be downloaded from www.psoriasis.org.nz.
Tuesday was World Psoriasis Day - an international day of
recognition for people living with psoriasis and psoriatic
• A chronic skin condition caused by overactivity of the
immune system in the skin. Skin cells multiply at an
abnormally fast rate and accumulate, producing a range of
chemicals, which act as if they are fighting infection or
healing a wound.
• Most common form causes raised, inflamed, scaly, red skin
lesions known as plaques.
• Plaque psoriasis lesions are usually dry, raised slightly
above the skin, red and covered with silvery scales and may
also be itchy, inflamed, painful, cracked and bleeding.
• Develops most frequently in young adults and continues
throughout their life.
• About one in 50 adults in New Zealand lives with psoriasis.