The signs and symptoms of rosacea can be highly variable from one individual to another, according to preliminary results of the most recent survey by the National Rosacea Society on the many potential manifestations of the disorder.
"These survey results not only document the most common features of rosacea, but show significantly high rates of many other signs and symptoms as well," said Dr. Ethan Lerner, associate professor of dermatology at Harvard Medical School. "Rosacea may affect different patients in a great variety of potential ways, and often calls for multiple approaches to treatment." Of the more common signs of rosacea, 70 percent of the 1,394 survey respondents said they had experienced frequent flushing, while 68 percent reported persistent redness and nearly 59 percent noted they had visible blood vessels.
Bumps or pimples had affected 74 percent of the respondents, with 60 percent having experienced pimples and 59 percent reporting bumps. In addition, 61 percent of the respondents said they had suffered eye symptoms such as a watery or bloodshot appearance, gritty feeling, burning or itching.
Among the less prevalent symptoms of rosacea, 48 percent of the respondents reported facial burning or stinging and 45 percent had experienced facial itching, while 37 percent said their skin had a dry appearance. Thirty percent of the respondents said they experienced raised red patches.
Thirty-one percent of the respondents said they had developed skin thickening or excess tissue, with 24 percent noting this on the nose and 7 percent reporting it in other facial areas such as the cheeks, chin or forehead. Skin thickening or excess tissue were reported by less than 20 percent of the respondents under the age of 40, but by more than 39 percent of those over 60. In addition, 19 percent of the respondents said they had experienced facial swelling.
Although rosacea has been primarily considered a facial disorder, 25 percent of the survey respondents reported signs and symptoms beyond the face and eyes, such as the neck (15 percent), the chest (7 percent), scalp (5 percent), ears (4 percent), back (2 percent) and other areas.
Regardless of the specific manifestations, however, 89 percent of the respondents said medical treatment had reduced or somewhat reduced their signs and symptoms.