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Every year, October 29 is observed as “World Psoriasis Day (WPD)” around the globe. Sponsored by the International Federation of Psoriasis Association (IFPA), the one-day event – dedicated to people with psoriasis and/or psoriatic arthritis – focuses on generating widespread awareness about this chronic auto immune condition and the debilitating effects that it has on people’s lives. Psoriasis is a common, chronic skin condition that results from an overactive immune system. The condition causes rapid build-up of cells on the surface of the skin which can lead to thick, scaly plaques that may itch or cause discomfort. The scaly plaques may normally develop on joints (like elbows and knees) and other parts of the body including the hands, feet, neck, scalp and face. The exact cause of this skin condition is not known, but it is mostly related to immune system problem and genetics. There are different types of psoriasis and the type and severity of symptoms may differ from person to person and may largely depend on the type of psoriasis a person suffers from. Treatment modalities for this condition aim to reduce inflammation and clear the skin. Treatment options include a combination of topical treatments, light therapy and systemic medications. Dermatologists and other specialists treating this autoimmune disorder can rely on a professional medical billing and coding company to meet their claim submission tasks.

According to the World Psoriasis Day consortium, psoriasis affects 125 million people worldwide. It is estimated that about 8 million people in the United States suffer from this chronic skin condition. In fact, studies show that between 10 and 30 percent of people with psoriasis also develop psoriatic arthritis. The 2019 one-day awareness campaign aims to raise the profile of this chronic skin disorder and stress the fact that this condition affects people around the world – not just physically, but also socially, emotionally and financially.

For many, psoriasis is still a relatively unknown disease. On WPD, the IFPA aims to spread information about psoriasis, dispel common myths and answer questions. The campaign is expected to make patients feel empowered to speak and discuss their own condition and associated symptoms. Red, raised, inflamed patches of skin covered with thick, silvery scales are one of the early symptoms of this condition. Other additional symptoms include – dry/cracked skin that may bleed, small scaling spots, swollen and stiff joints, soreness/itching/burning sensation around the patches, thick pitted nails and painful or swollen joints. These symptoms may develop in flares (that occur for different lengths of time) with specific periods of remission that last for an average of 1–12 months at a time.

Diagnosis of this condition may involve a previous medical history review and physical examination of the patient’s skin, scalp and nails. In rare cases, if the physician cannot clearly identify or analyze the symptoms, dermatologists may take a small sample of skin (known as biopsy) and sent it for lab examination to determine the type of psoriasis and rule out other possible disorders or infections. As there is no definite cure for this condition, a combination of systemic medications (methotrexate, cyclosporine, biologics, retinoids), topical therapies (creams and ointments) and light therapy (like ultraviolet (UV) or natural light) can help reduce inflammation and plaques.

Dermatology medical billing and coding is a complex and challenging procedure. Dermatologists or other specialists who happen to diagnose symptoms and provide specialized treatment to the patients with psoriasis are reimbursed for their services. Correct ICD-10 codes must be used to indicate a diagnosis of psoriasis and these include –

  • L40 – Psoriasis
    • L40.0 – Psoriasis vulgaris
    • L40.1 – Generalized pustular psoriasis
    • L40.2 – Acrodermatitis continua
    • L40.3 – Pustulosis palmaris et plantaris
    • L40.4 – Guttate psoriasis
  • L40.5 – Arthropathic psoriasis
    • L40.50 – Arthropathic psoriasis, unspecified
    • L40.51 – Distal interphalangeal psoriatic arthropathy
    • L40.52 – Psoriatic arthritis mutilans
    • L40.53 – Psoriatic spondylitis
    • L40.54 – Psoriatic juvenile arthropathy
    • L40.59 – Other psoriatic arthropathy
  • L40.8 – Other psoriasis
  • L40.9 – Psoriasis, unspecified

The idea of observing the “World Psoriasis Day” first came in to picture in the year 2004. In 2004, several psoriasis patient associations joined together and created a Steering Committee that made World Psoriasis Day a resounding success. Over the span of 15 years, the campaign has become an international movement for generating information and education about psoriasis and other related auto-immune disorders. Today, World Psoriasis Day is observed in over 56 countries worldwide.

The theme for World Psoriasis Day 2019 campaign is – “Let’s get Connected”. The theme intends to connect individuals living with psoriasis to a larger community and join the global conversation around universal health coverage.

As part of event, IFPA along with its member associations and support groups organize a wide range of activities all over the world to raise awareness about psoriasis and give people with this condition the attention and consideration they deserve. These activities include – awareness-raising walks or running events, lectures or seminars held by medical professionals, free psoriasis assessment and consultations at hospitals, photo exhibitions with psoriasis-related themes, handing out WPD flyers and brochures in public places, posting latest updates on IFPA’s WPD campaigns and plans on social media platforms (like Facebook or Twitter), wearing orange and blue color on October 29, and arranging fundraising barbecues, get-togethers or concerts.

Join World Psoriasis Day (WPD) observance on October 29. Use this platform to generate awareness about this chronic, auto-immune disorder.