A new survey by the National Rosacea Society demonstrated the wide variability of rosacea from one patient to another, while mapping the early development of its many potential signs and symptoms.
In the survey of 1,104 rosacea patients, 53 percent reported that blushing or flushing was the first sign of the condition they experienced, while 27 percent said their first sign included persistent facial redness. On the other hand, 22 percent of the respondents said their first sign of rosacea included bumps or pimples, and 12 percent said eye symptoms appeared first. Nine percent reported a dry appearance as their earliest sign, followed by 8 percent reporting visible blood vessels and 7 percent reporting raised red patches.
Although nearly 45 percent said their rosacea initially appeared when they were in their 30s or 40s, over 40 percent first experienced rosacea after age 50, and the disorder struck 14 percent of the respondents before they reached their 30s.
The survey showed these early signs often advanced rapidly to additional manifestations of the disorder. According to the survey, 38 percent developed all of their signs and symptoms of rosacea within a year and 22 percent said this took place within a few months.
Blushing or flushing developed later and was the second sign of rosacea for 27 percent of the respondents, while persistent redness was reported as the second sign by 24 percent and bumps or pimples were experienced second by 20 percent. Other signs and symptoms often noted as the second manifestation included visible blood vessels (6 percent), eye symptoms (5 percent) and burning or stinging (5 percent).
Bumps or pimples were reported as the third sign of rosacea by 23 percent of the respondents, while the third sign was persistent redness for 18 percent and visible blood vessels for 9 percent. Other signs and symptoms often reported as the third manifestation of rosacea included burning or stinging (9 percent), blushing or flushing (8 percent) and eye symptoms (4 percent).
"While a typical progression of rosacea has often been cited, this survey illustrates how the disorder can develop in many ways on a case-by-case basis," said Dr. John Wolf, chairman, dermatology, Baylor College of Medicine. "These survey results also suggest that rosacea frequently evolves from one subtype to another, and medical research to investigate this process may provide valuable insight."
Fortunately, medical therapy was found to make a significant difference for most patients, as nearly 90 percent of the survey respondents said treatment had reduced their signs and symptoms.