Rosacea is often much more than a cosmetic problem and may need to be recognized by a broader spectrum of the medical community, according to a new survey by the National Rosacea Society.
In the survey of 2,113 rosacea patients, 45 percent said they were prompted to seek diagnosis and treatment because of the emotional, social or professional consequences of their condition, while 37 percent were motivated by the physical discomfort of rosacea symptoms. Only 33 percent of the respondents were motivated by changes in appearance alone.
"These survey results document that the impact of rosacea goes well beyond its conspicuous effects on facial appearance," said Dr. Larry Millikan, chairman of dermatology at Tulane University. "It is frequently accompanied by significant facial discomfort such as burning or stinging, as well as irritation of the eyes. Moreover, if left untreated, rosacea often directly interferes with people's work and personal lives."
After signs of rosacea first began to appear, 53 percent of the patients said they went to see a doctor within a year, and 71 percent sought diagnosis within two years. However, only 75 percent of the survey respondents said they received a correct diagnosis the first time they sought medical help for their condition.
"This suggests there may be a need for greater awareness of the potential signs and symptoms of rosacea among all health professionals, so more people receive needed treatment," Dr. Millikan said. "Besides dermatologists, primary care physicians are often the first to see patients with this widespread disorder, and ophthalmologists may also be involved because of its common effects on the eyes."
Eighty-six percent of those surveyed said their rosacea was diagnosed by a dermatologist, while 10 percent said they were diagnosed by a general practitioner and 2 percent were diagnosed by an ophthalmologist. Two percent were diagnosed by another medical specialist such as a gynecologist, allergist, optometrist or rheumatologist.
Ninety-two percent of the survey respondents reported that medical treatment had improved their condition.