2007-04-04 / Health

Helping Young Adults Deal with a Common Condition

(NAPSI) www.napsnet.com

A new initiative may help young adults deal with their psoriasis. A new initiative may help young adults deal with their psoriasis. It's a common disease, but if you're a young adult struggling to find your place in the world, it couldn't happen at a worse time.

That's because psoriasis - a condition characterized by dry, red patches on the skin that typically first appear from age 15 to 25 - is more than just unsightly. It can have a very real impact on a young person's self-esteem, social life, grades and job performance.

In fact, a study by the National Psoriasis Foundation found that six out of seven young adults who have psoriasis reported the disease affects their lives. Respondents said they felt uncomfortable when people stared at them because of their condition and that others avoided them out of the belief that their psoriasis was contagious.

According to the National Institutes of Health, as many as 7.5 million Americans have psoriasis. It's not contagious, and it can be managed with medications. Still, the misconceptions linger.

To help, the National Psoriasis Foundation launched the College-Age Psoriasis Awareness Campaign (CAPAC) through an unrestricted educational grant from Galderma Laboratories. The initiative works to educate young adults about the physical, emotional and social impact of psoriasis. "Psoriasis 101: Learning to Live in the Skin You're In," a brochure geared toward young adults, outlines several ways to cope with the disease:

+ Discuss treatment options with a dermatologist. Prescription or over-thecounter? Convenient, easyto use topical treatments are available in spray, lotion and shampoo.

+ Expect some trial and error. It may take some time and effort to find what works best, as a particular treatment may be appropriate for one person but not another.

+ Get to know the triggers of psoriasis. Learn how emotional stress, injury to the skin and certain medications may affect psoriasis.

"Young adulthood is a critical time for people to develop long-standing relationships and support networks," said Gail Zimmerman, president and CEO of the National Psoriasis Foundation. "Misperceptions about psoriasis can negatively affect their comfort level with dating, participating in sports and going on job interviews. It's important that we alleviate the potentially adverse social effects of psoriasis."

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