What is Rosacea?
By some recent estimates rosacea afflicts 13 million Americans. Rosacea is a chronic disease which usually first appears as subtle reddening on the face. Over time this may develop into some inflammation and may be accompanied by pimple-like skin eruptions. About half of rosacea sufferers also have some sort of symptoms with their eyes (known as ocular rosacea). If left untreated, over time rosacea can result in the appearance of red lines which result from swollen or damaged veins.
Who Gets Rosacea?
Rosacea most commonly afflicts adults between the ages of 30 and 60 though it has been know to afflict children. Symptoms usually start to appear to people in their 30s or 40s. Men and women are equally likely to be affected and there seems to be a genetic aspect to the disease. In one survey, forty percent of rosacea sufferers surveyed could identify a relative with the symptoms of rosacea. There is a reasonably common belief the people of Irish or Northern European descent are more likely to be affected though some studies have not necessarily supported this. There is no evidence that rosacea can be passed from one person to another (i.e.: it is not a contagious condition).
What Causes It?
The exact cause of Rosacea is still largely unknown; however the symptoms are reasonably well understood as are a variety of lifestyle factors (such as particular foods and activities) that are known to trigger outbreaks in people that have the disease.
Can it be Cured?
At this time there is no cure for rosacea. Several treatments have been shown to be successful in reducing or eliminating the symptoms. These treatments, in combination with modifying triggering lifestyle factors (mentioned above) can greatly reduce the day-to-day impact of the disease for most people.