Finance Minister Jim Flaherty Suffers From Rare Skin Disease

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By Gopi Chandra Kharel | February 1, 2013 5:35 PM EST

Finance Minister Jim Flaherty, after refusing to discuss the matter for week, has finally made it known to the public that he is suffering from a rare skin ailment. The minister was seen for days with noticeable changes in this skin. Details of Flaherty's condition were issued by a Finance Department spokesman who confirmed that the minister is suffering from a rare dermatological condition called Bullous Pemphigoid.

It has also been revealed that he has been prescribed a steroid medication called prednisone to clear up the condition. CBC News reported that in a statement issued by Dan Miles, Flaherty's director of communications, said, "This treatment has side effects such as bloating, weight gain, redness in the face and bouts of sleeplessness"

According the statement, the disease has not affected Flaherty's ability to do his job. "He has been dealing with this health issue for nearly a year now while carrying out his duties as Minister of Finance, Regional GTA Minister and Whitby-Oshawa MP," said the spokesperson.

Questions regarding Flaherty's health have been on the rise in recent days. The officials in the finance department have been speculating on how long the minster would stay on, considering both his ailment and the demanding job he has been handling since 2006.

The minister, who is 63 now, has rigorously worked in a tight schedule ever since his office commenced, travelling across the globe for economic conferences and dealing with the issues related to recession.

How Serious Is Bullous Pemphigoid?

Bullous Pemphigoid is a dermatological condition characterized by large blisters occurring in the body. The cause of the disorder has not yet been known in the medical science although it has been thought that it may be related to disorders in immune system, certain other diseases, or use of some medications.

Bullous Pemphigoid does not usually effect youths and occurs in elderly persons. Symptoms could repetitively occur and reoccur while in most patients, the condition is said to go away within 6 years.

Some patients might have minor symptoms while others could suffer from skin irritation and mild redness.  In some severe cases, the person could develop multiple blisters referred to as 'bullae'.  These blisters usually occur on the middle of the body, legs or arms. One third of patients suffering from bullous pemphigoid also have blisters in the mouth. These blisters could open sores or form ulcers.

For treatment, an anti-inflammatory medicine called corticosteroids may be prescribed which is either swallowed or injected or in some cases, applied in the body as cream. Antibiotics called tetracyclines may also be used while some doctors may prescribe chemotherapy. In Finance Minister Jim Flaherty's case, he has been prescribed prednisone which is a class of drugs within corticosteriods used to treat allergic disorders or skin conditions.

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