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The world is waking up to the severity of psoriasis: the World Health Organization (WHO) now officially lists psoriasis as a Noncommunicable Disease (NCD)!

What are NCDs?
Noncommunicable diseases (NCDs), also known as chronic diseases, are not passed from person to person. They are of long duration and generally slow progression. The four main types of NCDs are: cardiovascular diseases (like heart attacks and stroke), cancers, chronic respiratory diseases (such as chronic lung disease and asthma) and diabetes.

Why are NCDs such a big problem?
Together, the above four NCDs are responsible for almost 70% of all deaths worldwide. Each year, they kill 38 million people. Especially in low- and middle-income countries, NCDs strike hard: almost three quarters of all NCD deaths occur in these countries.

What are the risks factors for NCDs?
The rise of NCDs has primarily been driven by four main risk factors: tobacco use, lack of exercise, the harmful use of alcohol and unhealthy diets.

How does this relate to psoriasis?

As a chronic, painful, incurable NCD affecting over 125 million people worldwide, psoriasis is both part of the NCD family and linked to several of the four main types of NCDs.
While psoriasis itself may only rarely result in death, people with psoriasis run a greater risk of various comorbid disease that can be fatal. These comorbid diseases include diabetes and cardiovascular disease – two of the main types of NCDs the WHO has been focusing on for many years.

So what’s the big news?

Compared to the four main types of NCDs, other NCDs like psoriasis are often overlooked.
However, in 2014 the WHO member states officially approved Resolution WHA67.9 (which confirmed the status of psoriasis as an NCD) and in 2016, the WHO followed up on this Resolution with a lengthy Global Report on Psoriasis. These were milestones for the global psoriasis community – but without action to accompany these documents, little might change. That is why it is great news that the WHO now officially mentions psoriasis as NCD on its website, under the section “Other NCDs”!

Click here to read about the inclusion of psoriasis on the WHO’s website.

Photo: Thorkild Tylleskar

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