Sun, Nov 05, 2017 - Page 3 News List

Psoriasis patients treated differently, association says

By Lee I-chia  /  Staff reporter

The Psoriasis Association Taiwan yesterday hosted a lecture in Taipei to raise public awareness about psoriasis — an autoimmune disease that speeds up the lifecycle of skin cells — saying that 77 percent of patients worldwide feel stigmatized.

Psoriasis affects about 0.2 percent of the Taiwanese population, with more male than female patients, the association said, adding that the disease causes skin cells to grow rapidly due to irregular functioning of the immune system and that symptoms appear on many areas of the body, but it is not infectious.

The association invited physicians to discuss the disease and its treatment with the general public and healthcare practitioners, as well as patients and their families at yesterday’s lecture, which was held following World Psoriasis Day, a day

Citing a report from the International Federation of Psoriasis Associations, the association said that about 77 percent of patients described psoriasis as a significant problem in their lives and had felt stigmatized because of it, while 65 percent described having been discriminated against because of the disease.

A 57-year-old patient surnamed Wang (王), who had had the disease for over 30 years, said she had not worn short-sleeved shirts in all that time because she was afraid that co-workers would see her scaly skin and treat her differently.

When she developed the disease in her 20s, Wang thought it was only a minor skin problem, so she tried many folk remedies, which did not improve her condition, she said, adding that she would often worry about how people looked at her, but her symptoms improved significantly after a physician prescribed biologic treatment.

Association secretary-general Wang Ya-hsin (王雅馨) said many people in Taiwan do not know about psoriasis, so patients often run into difficulties when looking for a job because co-workers fear that they are contagious and managers fear that the skin condition could scare away customers.

The association said it hoped the public would learn more about psoriasis and demonstrate more compassion toward patients.

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