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08 December 2023

Why detecting Psoriasis early can stop onset of other diseases

Dr Anwar Al Hammadi and Dr Sheikha Alia Al Moalla (Supplied)

By Staff

Latest research shows 30 per cent of patients with psoriasis may develop psoriatic arthritis, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, obesity, or depression, highlighted  Dr Anwar Al Hammadi, Director of Dermatology at the Dubai Health Authority (DHA).

Psoriasis is a systematic disease, which means that patients with the disease are at a higher risk of developing other diseases.

So, it's crucial that those with psoriasis take charge not just of their disease but also of their overall health.

Psoriasis is a chronic non-contagious systematic disease that presents itself in the form of red patches covered by white scales all over the affected area.

Roughly psoriasis affects 2 per cent of the global population and hereditary factors play a major role. So, if both parents have psoriasis then the likelihood of their children getting the disease is 41 per cent and the chances are 14 percent if one parent has it. If one of the sibling is affected with psoriasis, the risk of other siblings developing it is 6 per cent.

“Globally, a significant number of patients have limited knowledge of the condition. The lack of knowledge often leads to delayed treatment and misconceptions about the disease," said Al Hammadi.

"Patients also need to understand that although there is no cure for the disease, it can be managed effectively through treatment and a healthy lifestyle.

"In addition, since the disease rarely causes any secondary infections patients can lead their life normally and continue doing all their regular activities including swimming.”

Al Hammadi said advances in treatment of psoriasis is ongoing and this means better patient outcomes in the future, which is promising for both dermatologists and patients.

He said treatment options now include tropical crèmes, oral pills, phototherapy (light therapy) and for severe cases biological injections. In fact, there is a lot of work currently going into determining if biological pills can be used instead of injections.

Al Hammadi said research shows the psychological impact of psoriasis is more than cardiovascular disease, cancer and diabetes etc. “The appearance of the disease and unawareness among society members about the disease causes most patients psychological stress. Thus, awareness about the disease among the community will help in better acceptance and understanding of the disease.”

He said that in 2013 the DHA dermatology centre received 14,634 patients, of which 1,117 patients had psoriasis and in 2014, out of 14,634 patients, 1,216 had the disease. In 2015, the centre received 20,573 patients, of which 1,765 had psoriasis, which is roughly 8.5 per cent of the patients.

Dr Sheikha Alia Al Moalla, Senior Dermatologist at the DHA, said: “It generally develops on the scalp, knees, or elbows, although it may affect any area of the skin. The production of skin cells at affected sites is accelerated, and the accumulation of excess cells causes scaly plaques. In addition to treatment options, patients need to improve their lifestyle to reduce complications of the disease.”