Psoriasis in African Americans

Health Writer

Although African Americans are less likely to develop psoriasis, when they do it is often more severe and causes more serious psychological effects. Caucasians are twice as likely to develop psoriasis with approximately 1.3 percent of African Americans suffer from psoriasis, as compared to 2.5 percent of Caucasians. [1]

Psoriasis is the most common autoimmune disease and causes red, scaly patches on the skin. These patches can be itchy and painful. Many people find the psychological effects of the disease more difficult to manage than the physical symptoms. Some people also develop psoriatic arthritis, which causes painful joint. Psoriasis can appear at any age, however, it usually begins between the ages of 15 and 35. Psoriatic arthritis typically appears between the ages of 30 and 50 years old.

The National Psoriasis Foundation considers mild psoriasis as when the disease affects less than 3 percent of your body. Moderate is when between 3 and 10 percent of your body is affected and severe is when more than 10 percent of your body is affected. The size of your hand is generally considered about 1 percent of skin surface.

There is no cure for psoriasis.

The National Psoriasis Foundation conducted a survey of nearly 5,000 people with psoriasis and/or psoriatic arthritis. According to the survey:

  • 72 percent of minorities with psoriasis stated the disease interfered with their capacity to enjoy life as compared to 54 percent of Caucasians
  • 75 percent of minority respondents indicated that the disease impacted their overall well-being, as compared to 62 percent of Caucasians
  • Minority respondents were more likely to feel self-conscious, embarrassed, angry, frustrated and helpless because of the disease
  • Minority respondents stated they were more likely to use clothing to conceal psoriasis patches and they felt their appearance was unsightly

When the survey results were released, Randy Beranek, president and CEO of the National Psoriasis Foundation stated, “It is disturbing to learn the extent of the emotional and social implications of the disease in minority populations. We are committed to ensuring that everyone, regardless of their race or ethnicity, has access to treatment that will reduce both physical and emotional effects of psoriatic disease.” [2]

Symptoms and treatment are usually the same in Caucasians, African Americans and other minorities. Phototherapy may be adjusted based on skin type and pigmentation.

See More Help Articles:

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“Statistics,” Date Unknown, Staff Writer, National Psoriasis Foundation

[2] “Study Says Minority Suffer More From Psoriasis,” 2009, Oct. 20, Staff Writer, PR Newswire

[1] “The Prevalence of Psoriasis in African Americans: Results from a Population-based Study,” 2005, JM Gelfand et al, Journal of American Academy of Dermatology

Eileen Bailey is a freelance health writer. She is the author ofIdiot's Guide to Adult ADHD,Idiot's Guide to Cognitive Behavioral Therapy,Essential Guide to Overcoming Obsessive Love andEssential Guide to Asperger's Syndrome. She can be found on Twitter@eileenmbaileyand on Facebook ateileenmbailey.

Updated On: July 18, 2016