This Friday, October 29, 2010, is World Psoriasis Day. Every year since 2004, when October 29th comes around, the International Federation of Psoriasis Associations (IFPA) asks the world to join them in recognizing people with Psoriasis and Psoriatic Arthritis. This year, they are focusing on Childhood Psoriasis.
Psoriasis is an autoimmune disease that affects the skin. Lesions appear because of the overproduction of skin cells. Instead of maturing over the normal 28-30 days, these skin cells mature in 3-4 days, and then pile up on the skin instead of falling completely off. Psoriasis is not contagious. The cause of Psoriasis is a combination of genetics and “triggers”.
As this year’s theme for World Psoriasis Day points out, Childhood Psoriasis can place a heavy burden on a child. The National Psoriasis Foundation surveyed parents with children who have Psoriasis and/or Psoriatic Arthritis, and found some important statistics:
• Over the past 6 months, 44% of the children surveyed were bullied in some manner, including: teased (83%), left out (44%), called names (27%), threatened (22%), and hit or otherwise physically assaulted (17%).
• 38% of those who were bullied say that they were bullied as a direct result of their Psoriasis.
• On a positive note, Parents responded to their child being bullied by educating people about Psoriasis: 87% educated the teachers/staff of the school their child attends, 65% talked to their child’s friends, and 57% talked to their child’s classmates.
• The psychological impact of Psoriasis can be very negative, especially with the bullying that often occurs. These negative experiences can lead to self-esteem issues and higher anxiety levels in adulthood.
• Children with moderate Psoriasis have a higher chance of obesity than those without Psoriasis.
• Psoriasis can have more negative impact on how a child views him or herself than other childhood diseases, including diabetes, epilepsy and alopecia.
• Approximately 20,000 children are diagnosed with Psoriasis each year.
These statistics show why World Psoriasis Day is so important. The aims of World Psoriasis Day are to Raise Awareness, Improve Access to Treatment, Increase Understanding, and Build Unity.
Please join us this year in celebrating World Psoriasis Day on Friday, October 29th!