psoriais_1804213A significant percentage of people afflicted with psoriasis, a severe skin condition, suffer from the emotional impact of the disease, said a top dermatologist at the Dubai Derma 2013 conference which is taking place at Dubai World Trade Centre.

Dr Anwar Al Hammadi, chairperson of the conference and head of dermatology at the Dubai Health Authority (DHA), said because large patchy flakes and skin flare-ups can be seen in patients with the disease, many of them are conscious of the disease and do not properly integrate themselves in society.

In 2012, of the 12,000 patient visits at the DHA dermatology centre, 966 patients had psoriasis. Of them, 1.2 per cent were new patients and 7.3 per cent were follow-up patients: “In terms of the UAE, we still are within the worldwide range in terms of prevalence of the disease. However, I would advocate awareness as a means to tackle this problem and early intervention for better patient outcomes,” Dr Al Hammadi said.

According to the American hospital Johns Hopkins, psoriasis is a persistent skin disorder characterised by patches of raised, red bumps covered with white, flaking scales. 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. First attacks usually begin between the ages of 10 and 30.

“While psoriasis cannot be cured, its symptoms can be greatly controlled, providing relief for patients. However, early intervention is important for the management of the disease,” Dr Al Hammadi said.

He also said that people who are obese and have psoriasis, tend to have stronger symptoms of the disease and thus healthy eating and weightloss are important in the fight against the disease.

“Latest research shows that psoriasis is a systematic disease which means that patients with the disease are at a higher risk of developing high blood pressure, diabetes etc and regular health checks are important,” he added.

He also said that if one parent has the disease, the chances of children developing it is 17 per cent, but if both parents have the disease, the chances are 42 per cent.