still too many prejudices and medical errors

2023-10-24 13:15:39

The constraints of this skin disease can be heavy and false ideas persist, shows a survey carried out for the France psoriasis association.

It is a skin disease, which like others, can cause real physical and social discomfort in those who suffer from it. The France psoriasis association publishes a study * on the perception of psoriasis by patients and the French population. The results show that respondents are aware of the impact of the disease on patients, but that certain prejudices persist, leading to disruptions in their emotional, social and professional lives. On the other hand, the medical care of patients is slowed down.

Psoriasis is not rare (it affects around 2% of the French population), but remains a poorly understood pathology: 64% of those questioned do not know about psoriasis or have only heard of it. Among those who know it or have heard about it, a certain degree of ignorance remains: thus, 49% of them do not know that the disease is painful, but 74% know that it is not contagious. Raising awareness among the general public is therefore essential, especially since 87% of people consulted are waiting for information on the disease.

» READ ALSO – Psoriasis: inflammation in the skin

A modified social life for those affected

Prejudice and discrimination remain. Thus, when asked about their reaction to a person affected by psoriasis, 81% of respondents said they would shake the hand of someone affected but paradoxically, 35% would try to avoid any physical contact. This proportion is lower for people who know the pathology, showing the beneficial effect of information for those close to them and the patient.

« The change in the social and emotional life of patients depends on the location of the plaques : on the hands and face, this is more annoying because it is visible », Testifies Bénédicte Charles, president of the France psoriasis association. She adds that “ young children are subjected to teasing, for example they are called crusty”… Some are then stigmatized, then ousted from groups. » The report points out “ too much discrimination at school foraccess to employment, career is hampered and emotional life affected », and the people surveyed have a good representation of the difficulties experienced by patients in different aspects of their social, professional and family life. The perception of psoriasis by an affected person, specifies Bénédicte Charles, however, depends “ about his age : between 18 and 20 years old, cis more annoying than at 50 or 60 when you have built your life ».

» READ ALSO – Can we get rid of psoriasis?

Stress and psoriasis, the preconceived idea persists

40% of those questioned still think that the pathology is psychological and 32% do not comment on this point. In reality, this illness is not psychological. The exact cause of psoriasis remains unknown, but it is known that the disease appears through a combination of genetic predisposition and environmental factors. Stress is part of it, but it is never the only cause of psoriasis, and can also be its consequence. “ Many diseases are affected by stress, such as psoriasis, however the appearance of psoriasis generates stress. », testimony Bénédicte Charles.

For 48% of people surveyed, psoriasis can be cured and 29% have no opinion. In reality, this disease is incurable. But treatments exist to reduce the symptoms. The report, however, points to a “ failure of our public health system », and 16% of patients are no longer followed by a doctor for their psoriatic disease. “ In France, we have a severe shortage of dermatologists », says the president of the association. A lack that pushes some patients to turn towards miracle sellers ».

» READ ALSO – Psoriasis: increasingly effective treatments

Consult at the first symptoms

The president reports the ideal care pathway for a person with psoriasis: “ From the first symptom, you must consult a general practitioner who will give topical corticosteroid creams. As a second intention, if the manifestations persist, the general practitioner should refer the patient to a community dermatologist to have another therapeutic arsenal. Finally, in certain cases the patient may be referred to hospital dermatology. »

Bénédicte Charles describes that “ some general practitioners underestimate the impact of the disease on different levels, intimate, social, work, thinking that it is just an aesthetic problem “. She specifies that “ you must consult at the first symptoms to avoid problems that go beyond skin lesions such as, joint pain, associated diseases hypertension, diabetes. If treated well, illnesses improve. »

Disturbed sleep

Sleep disorders are particularly present in patients with psoriasis, even if the pathophysiological mechanisms are not fully understood, describes an article published in Acta dermato-venereologica in April 2022. The article points to underdiagnosis and regular sleep problems which are not systematically reported to dermatologists. Nevertheless, these disorders must be considered as a comorbidity of psoriasis, both source and effect of the pathology.

*Study carried out by OpinionWay on a sample of 1,000 people, interviewed by online questionnaire from May 16 to 23, 2023.

#prejudices #medical #errors

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