Psoriasis is a chronic disease of your immune system that causes cells to build up on the surface of your skin, leading to thick, red, scaly patches that are very itchy and sometimes painful. Up to 7.5 million Americans suffer from the disease, which has a surprisingly significant economic impact as well.
A new study in JAMA Dermatology reported that direct US healthcare costs related to psoriasis may be up to $63 billion a year.1 There were also indirect costs (such as loss of work hours) of up to $35 billion and another $35 billion in costs related to associated health problems, like heart disease and depression.
Taken together, the researchers found the annual US cost of psoriasis amounted to approximately $112 billion in 2013.
Psoriasis Is More Than a Superficial Skin Condition
Although psoriasis appears as a skin condition, it is actually an autoimmune disease. Part of the reaction occurs when a type of white blood cell called a T cell mistakenly attacks healthy skin cells.
These overactive T cells then trigger other immune responses that collectively speed up the growth cycle of skin cells, causing them to move to the outermost layer of your skin in a matter of days rather than weeks.
Because the dead skin cannot be removed quickly enough, it builds up into the thick patches characteristic of psoriasis. For up to 60 percent of people with psoriasis, the condition seriously impacts their daily life.
Your skin may become so inflamed that it cracks and bleeds. Up to 30 percent of sufferers also develop psoriatic arthritis, which can cause debilitating joint damage.
People with psoriasis are also at an increased risk of numerous other chronic diseases, including eye conditions, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease. And then there are the psychological repercussions.2
Those who aren’t familiar with psoriasis may view it as a contagious rash, and as a result people with psoriasis may be shunned or excluded socially. People with psoriasis often suffer from depression, low self-esteem, social isolation and problems at work, which may lead to a lower income.
For help in preventing or reversing this disease, call us at
Health and Wellness Associates