Emotional stress and physical pain are among the invisible components of rosacea beyond its red-faced, conspicuous appearance, according to new patient surveys by the National Rosacea Society (NRS). The NRS has designated April as Rosacea Awareness Month to alert the public to the warning signs of this chronic and often progressive facial disorder now estimated to affect more than 16 million Americans.
"Emotional stress is not only a common rosacea trigger but is often the result of its symptoms, creating a tailspin for many patients," said Dr. John Wolf, chairman of dermatology at Baylor College of Medicine. "Add to this the social impact and potential physical discomforts of the disorder, and there are many aspects of rosacea that go well beyond its effects on personal appearance."
In recent NRS surveys, 69 percent of rosacea patients said they experienced a flare-up related to emotional stress at least once a month, and more than 90 percent of the respondents said they had suffered some form of physical discomfort from their condition. In earlier surveys, more than 76 percent said rosacea had lowered their self-esteem, and 88 percent of those with severe symptoms reported that it had adversely affected their professional interactions.
During Rosacea Awareness Month and throughout the year, the NRS conducts public education activities to reach the millions of rosacea sufferers who may not realize they have a medical condition that can be treated, emphasizing the warning signs and urging those who suspect they may have rosacea to see a dermatologist.
The standard subtypes of rosacea reflect the most common patterns of signs and symptoms, and characteristics of more than one subtype may occur at the same time. Subtype 1 (erythematotelangiectatic) rosacea is characterized by flushing and persistent redness on the central portion of the face, and visible blood vessels, burning and stinging are common. Subtype 2 (papulopustular) rosacea also features bumps (papules) and pimples (pustules) and can be tender.
Subtype 3 (phymatous) rosacea includes thickening of the skin, irregular nodularities and enlargement, especially of the nose. Subtype 4 is ocular rosacea, where the eyes may have a watery or bloodshot appearance, the sensation of a foreign body, burning or stinging, dryness, itching, light sensitivity or a host of other signs and symptoms.
For more information and materials, individuals may call the NRS toll-free phone number at 1-888-NO-BLUSH. Information is also available on the NRS Web site at www.rosacea.org.