BARRINGTON, Illinois (February 11, 2019) – Although a cure for rosacea has yet to be discovered, advances in medical therapy have made it increasingly possible for those who suffer from this chronic disorder to achieve clear skin. At the same time, recent surveys have shown just how important this attainable goal is to patients’ physical and mental well-being. The National Rosacea Society (NRS) has designated April as Rosacea Awareness Month to educate the public on the current understanding of this often life-disruptive condition estimated to affect more than 16 million Americans and 415 million worldwide, urging those with warning signs to see a dermatologist for diagnosis and appropriate therapy.
“Recent studies of the burden of illness in rosacea have found that the condition can profoundly impact quality of life, especially because of its effect on personal appearance,” said Dr. Linda Stein Gold, director of dermatology clinical research at the Henry Ford Health System. “In so many cases, all it takes is a single blemish or a single comment about having a red face to ruin someone’s day.” She noted that patients may often be reluctant to talk about the full burden of rosacea with their doctor, who in turn may underestimate the disease’s emotional, social and occupational impact.
In an NRS survey of 1,675 rosacea patients, 90 percent said rosacea’s effect on personal appearance had lowered their self-esteem and self-confidence, and 52 percent said they had avoided face-to-face contact because of the disorder. In another survey, 51 percent of those with severe symptoms said they had even missed work because of their condition.
When the signs and symptoms of rosacea are completely eliminated, the improvement in patients’ quality of life can often be dramatic. Treatment success is usually defined as reaching a score of 1 (“almost clear”) or 0 (“clear”) on the five-point Investigator Global Assessment (IGA) scale used by clinical researchers to gauge the effectiveness of medical therapies. In a recent clinical study, 49 percent of the rosacea patients who had achieved a score of “clear” said their condition had no impact on their quality of life, compared with 30 percent of the respondents who had reached “almost clear.” Patients who reached “clear” also reported significantly less need to modify their daily habits due to rosacea, and had fewer doctor visits per year.
“Rosacea’s signs and symptoms can differ greatly from individual to individual, so determining the optimal medical therapy for each patient is important,” said Dr. Stein Gold. “Effective therapy can not only get symptoms under control sooner and lead to longer remission times, but may also put a halt to the progression of the disease.”
During Rosacea Awareness Month and throughout the year, the NRS will conduct public education activities to reach the many 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. Bulk quantities of educational materials are available to health professionals for their patients through the NRS website at rosacea.org. Those interested in spreading awareness during the month of April are encouraged to visit the official Rosacea Awareness Month landing page at rosacea.org/ram for ways in which they can participate.
Rosacea is a chronic disorder of the facial skin that is often characterized by flare-ups and remissions. Although rosacea varies from one patient to another, it typically begins at any time after age 30 as a flushing or erythema (redness) on the cheeks, nose, chin or forehead that may come and go.
According to the recently updated standard classification of rosacea, the presence of persistent facial redness or, less commonly, phymatous changes where the facial skin thickens is considered diagnostic of the disorder. Additional major signs, which often appear with the diagnostic features, include papules (bumps) and pustules (pimples), flushing, telangiectasia (visible blood vessels) and certain ocular manifestations. The presence of two or more major features independent of the diagnostic signs is also considered diagnostic of rosacea, and secondary signs and symptoms include burning or stinging, swelling and dry appearance.
During April and throughout the year, individuals may call the National Rosacea Society's toll-free telephone number at 1-888-NO-BLUSH for information. The NRS offers Rosacea Review, a newsletter for rosacea patients; a "Rosacea Diary" to help patients identify and avoid lifestyle factors that may trigger flare-ups in their individual cases; and other booklets to help patients understand, manage and cope with their condition.
Information is also available by visiting the NRS website at rosacea.org; writing the National Rosacea Society, 196 James Street, Barrington, Illinois 60010; or via e-mai at firstname.lastname@example.org.
About the National Rosacea Society
The National Rosacea Society is the world's largest organization dedicated to improving the lives of the estimated 16 million Americans who suffer from this widespread but poorly understood disorder. Its mission is to raise awareness of rosacea, provide public health information on the disorder and support medical research that may lead to improvements in its management, prevention and potential cure.