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How Does Psoriasis Impact Your Quality of Life?

Questions to ask yourself to help understand the ways psoriasis impacts your physical, mental, and social wellbeing.

Medically reviewed in April 2022

If you have psoriasis, it is important to think about the impact the disease has on your quality of life. Quality of life is a term that refers to a person’s sense of physical, mental, and social wellbeing, and is an important topic to discuss with your healthcare provider.

Below are some questions to consider. It can be helpful to spend some time thinking about these questions. It can also be helpful to write down notes on your experience.

How severe is your psoriasis?
Psoriasis is classified as mild, moderate, or severe. There are two main factors that are taken into account when assigning severity. One factor is the amount of the body’s surface affected by psoriasis:

  • Mild psoriasis covers less than 3 percent of the body
  • Moderate psoriasis covers between 3 and 10 percent
  • Severe psoriasis covers more than 10 percent

For reference, one percent of the body is roughly equal to the surface of your hand (including your fingers and thumb).

The other factor that determines severity is how much psoriasis impacts a person’s quality of life. Even smaller patches of psoriasis can have a significant negative impact on quality of life—for example, if patches occur on a very visible area, such as the face, or a very sensitive area, such as the genitals.

In what ways does psoriasis impact your quality of life?
As mentioned above, the basic definition of quality of life refers to physical, mental, and social wellbeing. These three areas—physical, mental, social—are useful starting points when considering the impact of psoriasis.

  • Physical wellbeing. Does psoriasis cause uncomfortable physical symptoms such as itching and pain? Does psoriasis prevent you from exercising? Does it make managing the other aspects of your health more difficult?
  • Mental wellbeing. How often do you experience stress, anxiety, anger, sadness, or other negative emotions? In what ways do you feel psoriasis contributes to these moods and feelings? How does psoriasis impact your self-esteem or self-worth?
  • Social wellbeing. What does psoriasis prevent you from doing? Do you avoid social situations or romantic relationships because of psoriasis? Do you feel embarrassed or stigmatized because of your symptoms? Does psoriasis negatively impact your relationships with friends and family?

Has psoriasis treatment affected your quality of life?
Quality of life is also an important factor when determining how well a psoriasis treatment is working—patients and healthcare providers want to find a treatment that improves quality of life in addition to clearing up skin.

Questions to ask yourself include:

  • What are your treatment goals?
  • How do you feel about your current treatment plan? Do you feel it is helping? Do you notice a difference in how you feel?
  • Have you tried other treatments in the past? What was your experience?
  • What treatments do you prefer? Why?

It is important to discuss your treatment goals and treatment options with your healthcare provider. There is no cure for psoriasis, but there are treatments that can help people reduce symptoms and achieve clear skin. Topical medications are usually the preferred treatment for people with limited or mild psoriasis. A person with moderate-to-severe psoriasis may be treated with a combination of treatments that includes phototherapy or systemic therapies, like biologics. When deciding on a treatment, it is important to discuss potential benefits, the risk of side effects, and the out-of-pocket costs with your healthcare provider.

It is not uncommon for a person to try a number of treatments before finding one that works. If you haven’t found a treatment that works, do not give up.

Sources:
Rashmi Sarkar, Shikha Chugh, and Shivani Bansal. "General measures and quality of life issues in psoriasis." Indian Dermatology Online Journal, 2016. Vol. 7, No. 6.
World Health Organization. "WHOQOL: Measuring Quality of Life."
National Psoriasis Foundation. "About Psoriasis."
UpToDate. "Patient education: Psoriasis (Beyond the Basics)."
Klaudia Dopytalska, Piotr Sobolewski, et al. "Psoriasis in special localizations." Reumatologia, 2018. Vol. 56, No. 6.
Gitte Susanne Rasmussen, Helle Terkildsen Maindal and Kirsten Lomborg. "Self-Management in Daily Life with Psoriasis: An Integrative Review of Patient Needs for Structured Education." Nursing Research and Practice, 2012. Vol. 2012.
Medical News Today. "Why psoriasis itches and how to stop it."
Qi Zheng, Xiao Ying Sun, et al. “Association between physical activity and risk of prevalent psoriasis: A MOOSE-compliant meta-analysis.” Medicine, 2018. Vol. 97, No. 27.
Young Wook Lee, Eun Joo Park, In Ho Kwon, Kwang Ho Kim, and Kwang Joong Kim. "Impact of Psoriasis on Quality of Life: Relationship Between Clinical Response to Therapy and Change in Health-Related Quality of Life." Annals of Dermatology, 2010. Vol. 22, No. 4. 2010
Joe Gorelick, David Shrom, et al. "Understanding Treatment Preferences in Patients with Moderate to Severe Plaque Psoriasis in the USA: Results from a Cross-Sectional Patient Survey." Dermatology and Therapy, 2019. Vol. 9.
UpToDate. "Treatment of psoriasis in adults."

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