How common is psoriasis in the general population

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Despite the fact that psoriasis is a relatively common skin condition, few studies have attempted to quantify this on any large scale. The present report is based on the UK General Practice Research Database collected between 1987-2002 which takes into account all out-patient appointments during that period.

The total number of patients in the database was 7,533,475, of whom 114,521 (1.5%) were identified as having psoriasis. As a broad generalization, therefore, we can say that psoriasis affects one or two people in every 100. Results also showed that psoriasis is much more common in young women than men and that it declines significantly in patients aged 70 years and over, in both males and females. Overall, 92% of patients with a diagnosis of psoriasis received a prescription for treatment.

Comment: These findings confirm that psoriasis is a common condition in the general population and, given the high rate of prescriptions, is associated with significant healthcare costs. Additional studies are necessary to determine why the prevalence of psoriasis increases more rapidly in female patients and why the prevalence decreases in patients 70 years and older.

Reference:

Prevalence and Treatment of Psoriasis in the United Kingdom: A Population-Based Study Gelfand JM, Weinstein R, Porter SB et al. Arch Dermatol. 2005;141:1537-1541.

Article prepared by:
Dr David Ashton MD PhD
27 April 2009