Despite being labelled as a skin disease, psoriasis has an impact on patients that extends beyond the cosmetic or physical aspects. It negatively affects quality of life from the burden of physical pain, discomfort and limitations to exacting a heavy emotional toll. According to a national patient survey, psoriasis and related conditions “impose a sever burden on the daily lives of Canadians with a history of moderate to severe psoriasis.” Over one third of respondents (176 of 500) viewed their skin condition as a significant problem in their daily life. The perception seemed to correlate with the extent of disease or how much of their body surface psoriasis affected. People with psoriasis have an increased risk of depression, anxiety and suicide.
Psoriatic lesions can be itchy, painful and bleed, making it difficult to sleep, dress or engage in various daily activities. If there is joint involvement, the pain can also make it challenging for the individual to function physically.
In terms of physical and mental disability, psoriasis has been compared to having cancer, arthritis, hypertension, heart disease, diabetes, and depression. The quality of life is the major concern. The aim of treatment is ultimately to reach an appropriate quality of life.
Having psoriasis may increase the risk of developing other chronic systemic diseases, including heart attack and stroke, diabetes, cancer, liver disease and other serious health conditions.