• 10/28/2015
    On World Psoriasis Day, Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC) joins the international community in raising awareness about this commonly misunderstood skin disease which can result in emotional distress and social isolation among affected individuals.

    Observed globally on 29 October every year, World Psoriasis Day aims to give an international voice to the millions of people worldwide who are living with psoriasis, and calls for action on all levels to improve access to treatment and increase understanding of the condition.

    Psoriasis is a chronic, non-contagious skin disease associated with the over production of skin cells, usually resulting in flaky, scaly and irritated skin. It can also be associated with psoriatic arthritis, which is marked by joint pain and swelling, and can be disabling. According to the International Federation of Psoriasis Association, more than 125 million people around the world have psoriasis/psoriatic arthritis. Psoriasis affects about three percent of the Qatari population.

    “Psoriasis is much more than just a skin condition – it can significantly impact one’s emotional well-being and quality of life,” said Dr. Ahmad Hazem Takiddin, Dermatology and Venereology Consultant at HMC’s Rumailah Hospital. “Those with psoriasis often feel deeply embarrassed about their appearance, and may face social difficulties due to other people’s perception that psoriasis is infectious, which is not true. People develop psoriasis through a combination of genes and exposure to external triggers such as stress, skin injury (such as cuts or scrapes), certain infections and some medication.”

    Dr. Takiddin emphasizes the importance of better understanding and support from the community towards reducing the effect of psoriasis on individuals. He also encouraged those who are concerned they may have psoriasis to seek professional medical advice to ensure they are correctly diagnosed and get the right medical treatment. This is determined according to the symptoms, location, type and severity of their psoriasis, and other individual factors such as existing health conditions and allergies.

    Treatment options for psoriasis may include creams and ointments applied to the skin, phototherapy (controlled exposure to certain types of ultraviolet light), and medication that reduces the production of skin cells. There is no known cure for psoriatic arthritis, but effective early treatment can help to control symptoms and prevent damage to the joints, which can be disabling.

    Dr. Takiddin said psoriasis symptoms can be worsened by lifestyle factors such as being overweight or obese, smoking, alcohol consumption, and an unhealthy diet consisting of foods high in saturated fats, starch and sugar. “This is why maintaining a healthy diet, regular physical exercise and adequate sleep are so important for everyone, including people who are at risk of having psoriasis. Besides helping to prevent obesity, these steps can also help to maintain lower stress levels and prevent psoriasis flare-ups,” he added.