“The purpose of the Make a Change Pledge is to empower people living with psoriasis to make changes that can help them increase their understanding of the disease and its impact on their everyday lives, as well as encourage them to work with a dermatologist to optimally manage their disease,” says LeAnn.
Diagnosed at age 2, LeAnn is familiar with the physical and emotional toll psoriasis can have on people with the disease. “As a performer in the public spotlight, coping with my psoriasis was scary and frustrating at times. I had to recognize how psoriasis was affecting many aspects of my life and commit to managing it. Personally, I learned to control my disease by working with a dermatologist to develop a treatment plan that is best for me.”
At StopHiding.org, people with psoriasis can join LeAnn in thinking about their personal priorities and the changes they would like to make to better manage their disease. Individual pledges range from “recognizing that psoriasis is a chronic immune disease” and “telling my dermatologist about all the ways psoriasis affects me” to “increasing psoriasis awareness by educating others about the condition” and “sharing my personal story and inspiring others to take control of their psoriasis,” among others.
“We must help patients learn how best to manage their disease so that they — and their aspirations — are not limited,” said Richard Seiden, chair of the National Psoriasis Foundation Board of Trustees. “We hope the Make a Change Pledge helps patients learn how to make changes in their lives so that they can deal with their disease effectively.”
As part of “Stop Hiding from Psoriasis,” LeAnn, the Academy and Foundation are also highlighting the importance of finding the right dermatologist. Currently, there is no cure for psoriasis, but, together with their dermatologists, people can create treatment plans that may include simple, everyday changes to better manage their symptoms and the effects their disease has on their lives.
“Partnering with a dermatologist who treats psoriasis is an important step in developing an appropriate disease-management plan,” said dermatologist William D. James, MD, FAAD, president of the American Academy of Dermatology. “Psoriasis is a chronic immune disease that can impact patients, physically and emotionally, but with proper management, it doesn’t have to control a person’s life.”
The Academy and Foundation joined together to create the “Stop Hiding from Psoriasis” campaign funded with support from Abbott, a global health care company. The program, which strives to raise awareness about the condition and encourages better disease management, was launched in 2008 to increase awareness about the disease and encourage patients to find a dermatologist and seek proper treatment. In addition, “Stop Hiding from Psoriasis” aims to educate the general public about psoriasis and dispel common misperceptions attached to the disease. A 2008 Foundation survey showed there is a stigma around psoriasis and widespread misconceptions about the condition.
Psoriasis affects nearly 7 million people in the United States. The chronic, non-contagious immune disorder speeds the growth cycle of skin cells and results in thick, scaly areas of skin. Psoriasis can occur in people of all ages, but it typically appears in patients between the ages of 15 and 35, and currently has no cure. The most common form, called plaque psoriasis, appears as red, raised areas of skin covered with flaky white scales that may itch or burn.
Psoriasis most commonly appears on the scalp, knees, elbows and torso, though it can develop anywhere on the skin. It may even occur on the fingernails and toenails. In addition to its physical symptoms, psoriasis also may affect one’s life, potentially leading to poor self image.
About the American Academy of Dermatology
The American Academy of Dermatology (Academy), founded in 1938, is the largest, most influential, and most representative of all dermatologic associations. With a membership of more than 16,000 physicians worldwide, the Academy is committed to advancing the diagnosis and medical, surgical and cosmetic treatment of the skin, hair and nails; advocating high standards in clinical practice, education, and research in dermatology; and supporting and enhancing patient care for a lifetime of healthier skin, hair and nails. For more information, contact the Academy at 1 (888) 462-DERM (3376) or visit www.aad.org.
About the National Psoriasis Foundation
The National Psoriasis Foundation is the world’s largest non-profit organization dedicated to serving people with psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis. Through education and advocacy, the Foundation promotes awareness and understanding, ensures access to treatment and supports research that will lead to effective management and a cure. For more information, please call the Psoriasis Foundation, headquartered in Portland, Ore., at (800) 723-9166 or visit www.psoriasis.org.