The Invisible Psychological Scars of Psoriasis

admin on Tue, 12/22/2020 - 08:03
Norvatis Malaysia

Psoriasis is a chronic autoimmune disease with symptoms such as itchy and dry patches on the skin, or inflammation in the joints1. However, psoriasis is much more than the physical implications that are presented both inside and outside of the body. What some patients might not realise is, psoriasis can have a huge impact on the emotional health, affecting their quality of life2.

To have a better understanding on how psoriasis affects a person’s quality of life, we can take a look at their Dermatology Life Quality Index (DLQI) score. The DLQI is a ten-question questionnaire used to measure the quality of life of adult patients suffering from psoriasis3. It consists of simple questions revolving around the patient’s symptoms, feelings, daily activities, personal relationship, impact on work or school and treatment inconvenience.

Each question is scored from 0 to 3, the DLQI score is calculated by adding the score of each question, resulting in a maximum score of 30 and a minimum score of 0. The meaning of the DLQI score is then interpreted as:

  • • 0-1 = No effect on patient’s life
  • • 2-5 = Small effect on patient’s life
  • • 6-10 = Moderate effect on patient’s life
  • • 11-20 = Very large effect on patient’s life
  • • 21-30 = Extremely large effect on patient’s life

According to the Malaysian Psoriasis Registry (2007 to 2018), the quality of life of moderate-to-severe psoriasis patients in Malaysia were adversely impacted. Psoriasis patients in Malaysia registered a high average DLQI score of 12.47, and 40.3% of the registered patients had a DLQI score of 10 and above.

90.8% of the patients reported that they experience itchy, sore, painful, or stinging effect on their skin, causing them to have a hard time focusing on their daily activities. 78.7% of the patients reported that they felt embarrassed or self-conscious due to their condition, limiting their social activities.

To some patients, psoriasis can cause a huge impact on their personal relationships as well. 52.0% of the patients reported that their condition has created problems with their friends or family, affecting their relationship. Furthermore, 37.2% of the patients faced intimacy issues with their partners, including difficulty in sexual activities.

These results prove that psoriasis does have a major impact on a patient’s quality of life. It is also unsurprising that with these concerns, patients often end up developing mental health issues and that puts them at risk. In fact, studies have shown that patients with severe psoriasis have a 25% higher chance of developing depression2!

Together with other tests such as the Psoriasis Area Severity Index (PASI), DLQI score helps both the dermatologist and patient understand the severity of the condition. By truly understanding the patient’s condition, a dermatologist would be able to determine what is the best treatment plan available to help improve their quality of life.

Therefore, if you or a loved one is suffering from psoriasis, take the DLQI or PASI test and speak to your dermatologist about the results. Only then, you may find out what is suitable to treat your condition.



Infographic data sourced from Malaysian Psoriasis Registry (2007-2018)

1Everything You Need to Know About Psoriasis. Healthline. (2020). Retrieved 23 October 2020, from

2How Are Psoriasis and Depression Related?. Healthline. (2020). Retrieved 23 October 2020, from

3Dermatology Life Quality Index. Cardiff University. (2020). Retrieved 23 October 2020, from

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