As professionals across the entire health care community have become more aware of the signs and symptoms of rosacea, patients are increasingly alerted to the possibility that they might have rosacea by a professional other than a dermatologist, according to a new survey by the National Rosacea Society.
In the survey of 774 rosacea patients, 23 percent said a family physician first noticed possible signs of rosacea. Other health care professionals making the initial observation included ophthalmologists, internists, optometrists, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, allergists, gynecologists and dentists.
The definitive diagnosis of rosacea, however, was made by dermatologists in the vast majority of cases (85 percent), with family physicians diagnosing 9 percent of the survey respondents, ophthalmologists diagnosing 4 percent, and internists and allergists, 1 percent each.
Dermatologists also are the most likely professional to provide ongoing care to rosacea patients. Eighty percent of those answering the survey said they are under the care of a dermatologist. Twenty-four percent receive treatment for their rosacea from a family physician, 10 percent from an ophthalmologist, 3 percent from an internist and just a half of a percent from an allergist. The total equals greater than 100 percent because some patients receive care from more than one doctor, such as a dermatologist for facial symptoms and an ophthalmologist for signs of ocular rosacea.
The frequency of “ongoing care” varies greatly from patient to patient, just as the signs and symptoms of rosacea do. Thirty-four percent of the survey respondents said they visit their doctor just once a year, while 22 percent said they make two visits a year. Another 22 percent said they visit their doctor less than once a year, while 16 percent said they visit every two to three months. Only 5 percent said they make an office visit once a month.
Separately, a 2014 study published in Cutis tracked outpatient visits for skin-related problems from data from the National Center for Health Statistics and found that more than half of all skin-related visits were addressed by nondermatologists.1 Of those nondermatologists, family practitioners accounted for 20.5 percent of those visits. Rosacea also ranked 10th in top referrals to dermatologists by nondermatologists.
The good news is that the medical therapy these doctors provide has improved the signs and symptoms of rosacea for most of those answering the survey. Seventy-six percent said that therapy has improved their rosacea.
1. Wilmer EN, Gustafson CJ, Ahn CS, Davis SA et al. Most common dermatologic conditions encountered by dermatologists and nondermatologists. Cutis. 2014 Dec;94(6):285-92.