Individuals with psoriasis aren't the only ones who bear the burden of their skin problem. It appears that family members and those living with psoriasis patients are affected as well.

Psoriasis, which causes the skin cells to grow quickly leading to painful and itchy patches appearing on the skin, affects about 7.5 million Americans. Although the condition is not contagious, individuals with psoriasis often feel embarrass of their condition causing them to avoid situations that would expose the patches on their skin.

Psoriasis is also associated with psychiatric disorders and health problems. Earlier studies show that individuals with psoriasis have elevated risks for heart and autoimmune diseases and are more likely to develop more infections than those who do not have the skin problem. Researchers, however, found that psoriasis does not just affect the quality of life of sufferers. Those who live with psoriasis patients also appear to be negatively affected by their condition, suggest findings of a new study.

For the study "Quality of life in persons living with psoriasis patients", which was published in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology on May 14, Eliseo Martinez-Garcia, a dermatologist at the Virgen de las Nieves University Hospital in Granada, Spain, and colleagues involved 34 individuals with psoriasis, 49 individuals who lived with psoriasis patients and 47 individuals who did not live with a psoriasis patient to analyze how the skin problem affects those living with sufferers.

By using the Dermatology Life Quality Index (DLQI) and Family Dermatology Life Quality Index (FDLQI) to measure quality of life and the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS) to assess the psychological state of the participants, the researchers found that psoriasis affects the quality of life of nearly 88 percent of those who lived with psoriasis with the quality life scores of patients and cohabitants significantly associated.

The researchers also observed that the anxiety and depression levels of psoriasis patients and those living with psoriasis patients were the same but were significantly higher than the healthy participants who did not live with a psoriasis patient.

"Psoriasis markedly worsens the global well-being of patients and their cohabitants, who experienced an impairment of their quality of life and higher levels of anxiety and depression," the researchers wrote.

Martinez-Garcia and colleagues said that the results of the study suggest that doctors who treat psoriasis patients should adopt a more integrated approach that will take into consideration the family members of the patient.

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