Help available for psoriasis sufferers

The Psoriasis Association of Singapore (PAS) and Janssen, a division of Johnson& Johnson, announced on Saturday the launch of a new programme called Freedom 360 for the 40,000 psoriasis patients in Singapore.

The programme seeks to take patient support to a new level by taking a 360 degree approach to disease management.

Freedom 360 uses social media and online platforms such as Facebook and an online forum to develop a supportive communityfor psoriasis patients to interact with.

It also facilitates workshops and activities to give the patients skills needed to improve their quality of life.

Dr Colin Theng, a senior consultant at the National Skin Centre (NSC), and President of PAS said:"Many psoriasis sufferers no longer believe they can live a normal life.

"Freedom 360 will give these patients hope, as well as the skills they need to transform their lives."

According to Dr Theng, it is not fully understood what causes psoriasis.

It is believed that it probably starts in the immune system when white blood cells, normally used by the body to fight infection, are mistakenly activated against healthy skin cells.

Shunned

Many psoriasis patients are shunned even by family who wrongly believe that the illness is contagious or due to poor hygiene.

They are also three times more likely to be unemployed than the general population, likely to suffer from depression, anxiety, sexual dysfunction and early deaths, according to Dr Theng.

"Even after a patient's skin condition improves, the emotional and social impacts of psoriasis continue to afflict the patient," saidDr Theng.

"Through Freedom 360, we can help psoriasis patients deal with the social, emotional and psychological scars that psoriasis causes.

"It gives hope to the tens of thousands of psoriasis patients who believe they will never enjoy the same quality of life as other Singaporeans."

This article was first published in The New Paper.

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