Most rosacea patients feel the negative social impact of their condition regardless of which rosacea subtype they may have, according to the results of a new National Rosacea Society survey.
While 61 percent of those with only subtype 1 (erythematotelangiectatic) rosacea, characterized by facial redness, said their rosacea had inhibited their social lives, the number rose to 72 percent among those who reported their redness was moderate or severe. Seventy-seven percent of patients with the bumps and pimples of subtype 2 (papulopustular) rosacea alone noted that their social life had been negatively impacted, and 85 percent of patients whose symptoms included subtype 3 (phymatous) rosacea, involving thickening of the skin, had been negatively affected.
Among the respondents who had the eye irritation of subtype 4 (ocular) rosacea, 71 percent said the disorder's effects had inhibited their social lives.
The most common complaint, cited by 50 percent of the 801 respondents, was having to refuse food or drink they normally would enjoy for fear of triggering a rosacea flare-up. Forty-three percent said they had been the subject of stares, misconceptions, rude comments or jokes, and 39 percent had refused or canceled social engagements because of rosacea's effects on appearance. Other common complaints included not participating in physical activities they would enjoy, reported by 37 percent, and avoiding new or different experiences, cited by 28 percent.
"It's important for rosacea patients to use a diary to identify and avoid only those things that affect their individual cases," said Dr. Lisa Maier, assistant professor of dermatology at the University of Michigan. "This process can reduce the effect of rosacea on social activities, as certain foods and other factors that may trigger a rosacea flare-up in one patient may not affect another."
Combining all subtypes, those who characterized their rosacea symptoms as "severe" reported the most negative social effects of the condition. Ninety-three percent said the disorder had inhibited them socially, and their most prevalent complaint (named by 72 percent) was having to refuse or cancel social engagements. Having to refuse food or drink was cited by 67 percent.
"The good news is that medical therapy, combined with trigger avoidance, can help to reduce rosacea's impact on most patients," Dr. Maier said. Survey results bear this out, as 63 percent of the respondents reported improvement following medical therapy.
The National Rosacea Society is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization whose mission is to improve the lives of people with rosacea by raising awareness, providing public health information and supporting medical research on this widespread but little-known disorder. The information the Society provides should not be considered medical advice, nor is it intended to replace
consultation with a qualified physician. The Society does not evaluate, endorse or recommend any particular medications, products, equipment or treatments. Rosacea may vary substantially from one patient to another, and treatment must be tailored by a physician for each individual case. For more information, visit About Us.