Press Release – Joint Press Release
New research findings and educational booklets for New Zealanders with psoriasis unveiled. Anniversary milestone for New Zealands only psoriasis patient support groupMEDIA RELEASE
Largest New Zealand Survey of People with Psoriasis Reveals Management and Care Shortfalls
• New research findings and educational booklets for New Zealanders with psoriasis unveiled •
• Anniversary milestone for New Zealand’s only psoriasis patient support group
WELLINGTON, EMBARGOED 29 October 2013 – To coincide with World Psoriasis Day today AbbVie has released the results of the 2013 Psoriasis Uncovered Survey1, one of the largest surveys of New Zealanders with psoriasis.
The results reveal the social challenges of living with a chronic skin condition and uncover low levels of access to specialist care.
Fifty per cent of survey respondents who reported living with moderate psoriasis said they have never received care from a dermatologist for management of their condition.
Of survey participants with severe psoriasis, one in five (21%) have never seen a dermatologist for their condition.1 Psoriasis is an autoimmune disease – it is caused by overactivity of the immune system in the skin.
It most frequently develops in young adults and continues throughout their life, with one in 50 New Zealand adults currently estimated to be living with the disease2,3 The most common form of psoriasis causes raised, inflamed, scaly, red skin lesions, known as plaques.
Nearly all (98%) people surveyed reported experiencing flaking skin, 70% experienced bleeding and 61% experienced pain associated with a flare of psoriasis1.
The online quantitative survey completed by 492 New Zealanders, also found people with psoriasis reported a high incidence of other associated conditions such as psoriatic arthritis and mental illness.
More than a third (35%) reported weight problems, stress (36%) and mental health issues (31%)1.
Dermatologist Dr Steven Lamb believes the results of this survey provide a valuable insight to the current management of psoriasis in New Zealand.
“New Zealanders with severe psoriasis in particular, report they are not getting the opportunity to access appropriate treatments,” says Dr Lamb.
“Forty to fifty per cent of people living with psoriasis are still using creams and lotions to treat their psoriasis.
It is important that people with psoriasis are receiving effective treatment for their psoriasis as well as other associated conditions including depression, weight gain, joint pain, high blood pressure and psoriatic arthritis,” said Dr Lamb.
This research highlights the need to accurately diagnose people early on in their journey and put them on a course towards effective management of their disease.
Only two in five (38%) patients reported receiving a diagnosis in less than one year from the time of first experiencing symptoms.
One in five (21%) of people surveyed reported they persevered with symptoms for three to ten years until they were diagnosed1.
Dr Lamb states: “It is becoming clear to us as healthcare professionals that 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”.
This is the second time the Psoriasis Uncovered Survey has been conducted in New Zealand.
While both surveys covered different topic areas, a consistent theme is the impact the condition has on feelings of self–confidence and judgement by others in the community.
In 2013 the majority (60%) of survey respondents reported experiencing a negative reaction from others about their skin condition and one in five (22%) reported that these comments were extremely or very hurtful.1 Patricia Officer Young, President of Psoriasis Association Southland — the only support group for people living with psoriasis in New Zealand — says raising awareness of psoriasis is critically important to ensure early intervention and improved management of the condition.
“The survey findings indicate New Zealanders with psoriasis don’t get to a dermatologist quickly enough to access comprehensive information and effective treatment options.
Greater awareness of this problem is essential to help people with psoriasis better manage their condition,” said Mrs Officer Young.
For this reason, Psoriasis Association Southland has developed a series of educational booklets to improve understanding of psoriasis and assist people with psoriasis to better manage their condition.
The release of the educational booklets coincides with the 35th anniversary of the formation of Psoriasis Association Southland.
“We are so pleased to be making these educational booklets available, marking not only our annual awareness day but also in celebration of our organisation’s 35th anniversary — a significant milestone for the whole psoriasis community in New Zealand,” added Mrs Officer Young.
To help bring the condition to light, Psoriasis Association Southland has formed partnerships with national hair salons Ginger Meggs and Vivo Hair and Beauty to distribute the booklets in their salons throughout New Zealand on World Psoriasis Day.
“Experiencing psoriasis on your scalp and in your hair is a very common thing for people with the condition.
So it was a natural fit for us to approach hair salons to help us distribute these booklets and raise awareness and support for the condition in the broader community.
We hope through these partnerships, people living with psoriasis feel more comfortable to discuss their condition and seek out appropriate care,” says Mrs Officer Young.
For information and support, people with psoriasis can contact the Psoriasis Association Southland on (03) 216 8662 or visit www.psoriasis.org.nz.