Kim Kardashian 'annoys' psoriasis patients by not raising awareness of skin condition, study says

An analysis of online discussion between patients found none mentioned the reality TV star positively when it came to psoriasis, which she suffers from 

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The Independent Online

Patients with psoriasis are largely “annoyed” at Kim Kardashian-West for not raising awareness of the condition and believe she has actually made stigma surrounding it worse, according to a new study.

Psoriasis is a skin condition which causes red, flaky patches on the skin covered in silver scales that can appear anywhere on the body but normally on the elbows, knees, scalp and lower back. It occurs when skin cells are replaced more quickly than usual and affects around two per cent of people in the UK. 

Treato, a website which gathers data from online discussions about health, researched the impact high-profile individuals with certain health conditions have on patients. A spokesperson for Treato told the Independent  they wanted to understand how celebrities were being discussed in online health forums by patients with the same health conditions and selected five high-profile individuals: Catherine Zeta-Jones, Michael Douglas, Kardashian-West, Jimmy Carter and Elisabeth Hasselbeck, as they were "among the most actively talked about by patients".

When analysing the way celebrities were discussed, Treato concluded being a positive ambassador for a certain disease is the most important thing for patients.

And one person who didn’t fare too well for this was Kardashian-West.

When analysing online discussions between psoriasis patients, not one person mentioned the businesswoman positively. Instead they argued that the episode of Keeping up with the Kardashians which films her being diagnosed actually harmed the existing stigma of psoriasis.

The 2011 episode from season 6 of the long-running show, which chronicles the every move of one of the world’s most recognised families, saw Kardashian-West take herself to the doctor after discovering “rashes” on her legs and be told that she had psoriasis, which her mother Kris Jenner also has. Her reaction to the diagnosis was largely concern on the effect it could have on her modelling work.

“My career is doing ad campaigns and swimsuit shoots,” she told the camera. “People don’t understand the pressures on me to look perfect. When I gain a pound it’s in the headlines. Imagine what the tabloids would do to me if they saw these spots?” she said against the backdrop of dramatic music.


When advised by her doctor to lead a slower-paced life, she replied: “It’s just not possible.”

According to the study, patients were also “annoyed” that she could use her platform to be an ambassador for psoriasis but “doesn’t actively participate in raising awareness”.

Discussing the results, David Noble from Treato wrote: “While her flawless appearance may indeed be her livelihood, commenters in health forums weren’t particularly sympathetic (We didn’t come across a single positive discussion among psoriasis patients about Kardashian). Since the vast majority of people with psoriasis aren’t concerned about paparazzi or photo shoots for glamour magazines, it seems they just can’t relate to Kardashian’s plight.”

While Kardashian-West’s reaction was met unfavourably, other high-profile individuals were praised for the attention they brought to certain health issues. The highest praise went to Catherine Zeta-Jones who was regarded as a positive role model for people with bipolar disorder with 69 per cent of all online discussion about her and the illness being positive. Her husband, Michael Douglas was considered the second most relatable and was also credited for raising awareness about tongue cancer.

The Independent has contacted a representative for Kardashian-West for comment.