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National Psoriasis Foundation Release: Newly Launched Psoriatic Arthritis Resource Puts Patients On PATH To Better Physical And Emotional Health

8/7/2006 10:39:09 AM

PORTLAND, Ore., Aug. 7 /PRNewswire/ -- For people living with psoriatic arthritis, a disease characterized by pain, stiffness and swelling in and around the joints, physical symptoms may not be the only source of pain. According to a new survey released this week from the National Psoriasis Foundation, people with psoriatic arthritis suffer psychological effects due to the impact of psoriatic arthritis on their appearance and the social stigma associated with physical symptoms of the disease. Psoriatic arthritis was also found to impact everyday life. To address the needs of people with psoriatic arthritis, the National Psoriasis Foundation is introducing the Psoriatic Arthritis Total approach to Health (PATH), a program providing tools and information for managing the physical and emotional aspects of the disease.

"The National Psoriasis Foundation hopes PATH becomes an important resource for people with psoriatic arthritis, many of whom are striving to live each day to the fullest despite the physical, emotional and social effects of this complex disease," said Gail M. Zimmerman, President and CEO of the National Psoriasis Foundation. "The PATH program recognizes the often serious nature of psoriatic arthritis and the myriad issues faced by people with the condition."

PATH: Addressing a Need

The PATH program was developed by the National Psoriasis Foundation in partnership with Abbott. The program content was designed with guidance from a multidisciplinary panel including a rheumatologist, psychologist, dermatologist, dermatology nurse, cosmetology instructor and people living with psoriatic arthritis. The centerpiece of PATH is an online resource on the National Psoriasis Foundation Web site ( ) featuring tips from experts on reducing stress, exercising, eating well and incorporating other healthy living tactics into everyday life, to help relieve the impact of psoriatic arthritis. The site also includes tips on skincare and style.

An educational seminar following the National Psoriasis Foundation(R) 2006 National Conference on August 6 in Portland, Ore. brought PATH concepts to life. At the PATH seminar, the meeting attendees participated in interactive breakout sessions and demonstrations addressing healthy living, exercise and physical activity, stress management, relaxation and meditation, and a tutorial on skincare and style.

"I have witnessed firsthand the effects of psoriatic arthritis and how patients need more than medicine alone to help manage this chronic inflammatory condition," said Lester Miller, M.D., rheumatologist and Adjunct Associate Clinical Professor of Medicine, Division of Immunology and Rheumatology, Stanford University School of Medicine. "It is essential that healthcare providers form a partnership with patients to facilitate a comprehensive treatment plan that addresses the medical, emotional and social impacts of this potentially crippling disease -- psoriatic arthritis."

"For many years, starting when I was in my teens, psoriatic arthritis dictated how I lived my life. Whether I was too embarrassed to wear clothes that would show my arms and legs or stuck on the sidelines unable to enjoy sports because of the pain in my joints, psoriatic arthritis defined who I was," said Annie Escalona, a psoriatic arthritis patient for more than 30 years and a speaker at the PATH event. "That's why I am so excited about PATH, because it is a program that offers practical guidance, but more importantly, hope and empowerment for people like me to take control of their disease."

Psoriatic Arthritis Survey: Disease Symptoms Hurt in More Ways Than One

New results from the National Psoriasis Foundation bi-annual survey of 405 adults with psoriasis or psoriatic arthritis, one in three of whom had been diagnosed with psoriatic arthritis (n=165), show that psoriatic arthritis takes a significant toll on many aspects of a person's life:

-- Nearly half of respondents reported that their psoriatic arthritis caused them large problems in everyday life. -- Nearly two in three people diagnosed with psoriatic arthritis have avoided professional services like haircuts, manicures and skin therapy to prevent unwanted stares and embarrassment. -- One in three people indicated that they were refused treatment by a beautician, barber, skincare specialist, manicurist or acupuncturist. -- Two in three respondents were either overweight or obese, conditions that can cause undue stress on a person's joints and exacerbate the physical symptoms of their disease.

The National Psoriasis Foundation conducts survey panels twice each year to understand the experiences and opinions of people with psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis. These surveys help the Foundation gain awareness and document the impact of these diseases. The information is used to shape programs that meet the needs of the psoriasis community and to determine the need for additional research. The Spring 2006 survey findings included in this release were sponsored in part by Abbott.

About Psoriatic Arthritis

Psoriatic arthritis is a chronic (lifelong) inflammatory disease that can cause pain, stiffness and swelling in and around the joints. Psoriatic arthritis is related to psoriasis, a chronic skin disease that can cause dry, red, scaly patches on the skin. Common symptoms of psoriatic arthritis include pain and swelling in one or more joints, usually the wrists, knees, ankles, fingers or toes. When nails are affected by psoriatic arthritis, they may look like they are pulling away from the finger or toe and even have pits.

Psoriatic arthritis can result in irreversible damage to the joints and can cause permanent disability. Early diagnosis and treatment of psoriatic arthritis can prevent joint damage. In most cases, people with psoriatic arthritis develop psoriasis first, but some people develop the arthritis before they notice psoriatic lesions on the skin. It is estimated that between ten percent and 30 percent of people with psoriasis develop psoriatic arthritis.

About PATH

PATH is a patient education initiative developed by the National Psoriasis Foundation in partnership with Abbott. It is designed to support people living with psoriatic arthritis and their loved ones by providing them with information and tools to manage this complex disease. The program launched with a kick-off educational seminar on August 6 in Portland, Ore., following the National Psoriasis Foundation(R) 2006 National Conference. For more information on PATH please visit the Foundation's Web site at .

About the National Psoriasis Foundation

The National Psoriasis Foundation is a patient-driven, nonprofit organization dedicated to improving the quality of life of the millions of Americans diagnosed with psoriasis and/or psoriatic arthritis, and their families. For more information, contact the Foundation, headquartered in Portland, Ore., at 800.723.9166, or visit .

National Psoriasis Foundation

CONTACT: Paula Fasano, Director of Marketing and Communications, ofNational Psoriasis Foundation, +1-503-546-8413,

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