Thursday 7 November 2013
The impact of the credit crunch has not only been confined to the financial markets. It is impacting our health, and in my field of medicine, Dermatology, there are some signs that it is having a real impact.
Last year, The British Skin Foundation reported that out of 105 doctors and nurses treating skin conditions, 41 per cent had seen a noticeable increase in the number of patients with stress related skin conditions.
Stress has been linked to a variety of medical conditions, but one of the main differences with skin conditions is the visibility of the problem. Stress has the potential to trigger pre-existing chronic skin conditions such as eczema and psoriasis but can also be linked to the onset of new skin conditions. Patients have to battle with self-consciousness and stigmas, creating a perfect storm to exacerbate the problem.
This week, organisations will be raising awareness of psoriasis. According to the Psoriasis Association up to 1.8 million UK people suffer from this skin condition, and as a result many of us will know someone who has to cope with this particularly challenging skin condition.
Skin conditions such as this, have a significant impact upon a person's life. Many suffer with depression and anxiety and the condition can be so debilitating that a significant number of workdays can be lost as a result.
Last year The Psoriasis Organisation and the Mental Health Foundation teamed up to launch a campaign called 'See Psoriasis: Look Deeper'. The purpose of the campaign was to highlight how much psoriasis can impact a person's quality of life, from physical and emotional well-being, to personal relationships and careers.
This week is National Psoriasis Week and as a Consultant Dermatologist, I hope it goes some way to not only engage employers in how they can support individuals who suffer with this condition, but also help alter the general public's attitude to people with skin rashes.
Just as the economy is showing signs of improvement, I'd like to think that society's attitude and understanding of skin conditions, like psoriasis, will also alter.