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Almost half of patients with skin disease suffer from sleep disturbances, global study finds

skin lesion
Credit: Unsplash/CC0 Public Domain

Almost half (42%) of patients with skin disease experience sleep disturbances, a major study presented today at the European Academy of Dermatology and Venereology (EADV) Congress 2023 has revealed.

The ALL PROJECT, a comprehensive international research initiative, analyzed over 50,000 adults across 20 countries to assess the impact of skin diseases.

Notably, these sleep disturbances were found to have broader implications on ' quality of life. Nearly half (49%) of patients with skin reported reduced productivity at work, in contrast with just one in five (19%) participants without a skin disease.

The main symptoms that impacted the sleep of patients with skin disease were itching (60%) and burning sensations or tingling (17%). Additionally, patients more frequently experienced a feeling of fatigue as soon as they woke up (81% vs. 64% in the non-skin disease population), periods of drowsiness during the day (83% vs. 71%), tingling sensations in the eyes (58% vs. 42%) and repeated yawning (72% vs. 58%) than those who did not have a skin disease.

Lead author Dr. Charles Taieb comments, "Our study is the first to uncover the profound impact of sleep disturbances on the physical functioning of patients with , and these findings underscore the critical need for early detection and effective management of ."

Study author, Dr. Bruno Halioua adds, "Moving forward, health care providers should be encouraged to integrate sleep disturbance questions into the examinations of patients with to foster a more comprehensive understanding of the impact of skin diseases. Ultimately, the ALL PROJECT aims to spotlight the impact of skin diseases and associated patient experiences so we can mitigate these adverse effects and improve the quality of life for patients."

Beneath the surface of hidradenitis suppurativa

The ALL PROJECT study also investigated the impact of living with hidradenitis suppurativa, a painful, long-term skin condition that causes abscesses and scarring affecting approximately 1 in 100 people. The condition occurs near hair follicles where there are sweat glands, such as around the groin, bottom, breasts and armpits, but the exact cause is unknown. It is often difficult to manage, although symptoms may improve or eventually stop with treatment.

Findings from the study showed that 77% of patients with hidradenitis suppurativa reported a feeling of stigmatization due to their condition, with 58% experiencing ostracization or rejection from others. More than half of patients reported that people avoided touching them (57%) and approaching them (54%) because of their condition.

These experiences led to significant consequences for patients, impacting their self-perception, relationships and daily lives. Patients with reported feelings of stigmatization were more likely to avoid taking selfies (52%), compared with those without the condition (84%), and tended to control their appearance whenever they passed in front of a mirror (72% vs. 34%). Nearly 79% of patients who exhibited poor adherence to therapy also reported a feeling of stigma.

Dr. B Halioua explains, "The stigmatization associated with this condition profoundly impacts patients' lives and can perpetuate a vicious cycle of isolation and non-adherence to treatment. The study highlights the need for immediate action, including public education efforts to increase understanding and improved access to tailored health care and for patients with hidradenitis suppurativa."

"This research is a vital step towards better supporting patients and addressing the hidden challenges they face due to stigmatization," adds Dr. C Taieb. "By raising awareness, we can work collectively to create a more inclusive society, improve treatment adherence and reduce the burden carried by patients."

Provided by European Academy of Dermatology and Venereology
Citation: Almost half of patients with skin disease suffer from sleep disturbances, global study finds (2023, October 12) retrieved 3 March 2024 from
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Stigmatization takes a major toll on those living with skin diseases across Europe, says study


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