BARRINGTON, Illinois (February 4, 2010) -- Although the number of people with rosacea continues to rise with the growth and aging of the U.S. population, most fail to recognize the warning signs of this potentially life-disruptive disorder now estimated to affect well over 14 million Americans. The National Rosacea Society (NRS) has designated April as Rosacea Awareness Month to alert the public to the signs and symptoms of this chronic and conspicuous facial condition and to emphasize the importance of seeking medical help.
"The early signs of rosacea are often overlooked because they are easily mistaken for something else and tend to come and go," said Dr. John Wolf, chairman of dermatology at Baylor University. "Unfortunately, without medical treatment the effects of rosacea usually persist and may become increasingly severe. Through greater public awareness, more individuals should seek early diagnosis and treatment before the condition becomes a serious intrusion on their emotional, social and professional lives."
In an effort to reach the growing number of rosacea sufferers, public education activities will be conducted by the NRS to increase awareness and understanding of this widespread disorder, emphasizing the warning signs and urging those who suspect they may have rosacea to see a dermatologist or other physician. In addition, bulk quantities of NRS educational materials are available to health professionals for their patients.
Although rosacea varies from one patient to another, the primary signs of rosacea may include flushing or transient erythema (redness), persistent or nontransient erythema, papules (bumps) and pustules (pimples), and telangiectasia (visible blood vessels), according to the NRS standard classification of rosacea, developed by a consensus committee and review panel of 17 experts worldwide. Secondary features may include burning or stinging, plaques (raised patches on the skin), a dry appearance, edema (swelling), ocular manifestations and phymatous changes, in which the skin thickens.
The standard subtypes of rosacea reflect the most common patterns of signs and symptoms, and characteristics of more than one subtype may occur at the same time. Subtype 1 (erythematotelangiectatic) rosacea is characterized by flushing and persistent redness on the central portion of the face, while subtype 2 (papulopustular) rosacea also features papules and pustules. Subtype 3 (phymatous) rosacea includes thickening of the skin, irregular nodularities and enlargement, especially of the nose. Subtype 4 is ocular rosacea, where the eyes may have a watery or bloodshot appearance, the sensation of a foreign body, burning or stinging, dryness, itching, light sensitivity or a host of other signs and symptoms.
"While rosacea can cause physical discomfort for many patients, the emotional pain from its effect on personal appearance may be far worse for many more," Dr. Wolf said. "Fortunately, long-term medical therapy, along with avoidance of lifestyle and environmental factors that exacerbate the condition in individual cases, can effectively control the signs and symptoms of this disorder."
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, as well as a "Rosacea Diary" to help patients identify and avoid lifestyle factors that may trigger flare-ups in their individual cases. Other booklets include "Understanding Rosacea," "Managing Rosacea" and "Coping with Rosacea."
The National Rosacea Society is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization whose mission is to improve the lives of people with rosacea by raising awareness, providing public health information and supporting medical research on this widespread but little-known disorder. The information the Society provides should not be considered medical advice, nor is it intended to replace
consultation with a qualified physician. The Society does not evaluate, endorse or recommend any particular medications, products, equipment or treatments. Rosacea may vary substantially from one patient to another, and treatment must be tailored by a physician for each individual case. For more information, visit About Us.