3 things to know about Psoriatic Arthritis
Have you heard of psoriatic arthritis? It’s a close cousin of psoriasis, but it doesn’t affect the skin. Here’s what you need to know:
1. Psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis are cut from the same cloth:
The connection between these diagnoses is well established: 30% of people with psoriasis develop psoriatic arthritis, and 80% of people diagnosed with psoriatic arthritis had psoriasis before developing psoriatic arthritis.
It's important to note that just like psoriasis isn’t a skin disease, psoriatic arthritis isn’t a joint disease: it’s an autoimmune condition. This means, in the simplest terms, that psoriatic arthritis is a result of your immune system revving up in the wrong direction, a process called “inflammation”.
In the case of psoriatic arthritis, that inflammation occurs in your joints. Psoriatic Arthritis can also cause stiffness in your back and neck (the doc will call this “spondylitis”) and tender spots around your tendons and ligaments - places like the the back of your heel, the sole of your feet, or your elbow (the doc will call this “enthesitis”). More info about Psoriatic Arthritis symptoms here.
2. Diagnosis isn’t always immediate:
Many people remain undiagnosed for while (two years on average) after they start experiencing symptoms. This is concerning for two reasons: first, that’s two years of pain that’s going untreated; second, a delayed diagnosis of over six months is directly linked to worse clinical outcomes. Without treatment, psoriatic arthritis can cause permanent damage to your joints.
This lag time between symptom onset and treatment has been attributed to a lack of patient education. Let’s nip that in the bud! You have to be the advocate for your own wellbeing: to recognize and act on red flags. If you’re experienced painful and swollen joints, talk to your doctor about these symptoms. They can help!
3. Treatment and timing are essential:
There is no cure for psoriatic arthritis, but treatment slows the damage to your joints so it is important to get diagnosed and start treatment as soon as you start to experience symptoms.
Lifestyle changes can also help you manage symptoms of psoriatic arthritis. There are so many little things you can do to lighten the load of stress put on your joints in your everyday routine, from using jar openers instead of your hand, to lifting heavy objects with both hands instead of just one, to opening doors with your entire body instead of just your hands. There are also exercises you can do to maintain flexibility in your joints and strength in the muscles that support them. Learn more about low impact exercises here, or talk to your Health Advisor for personalized recommendations and support.
Speaking of Health Advisors, we’re in the process of developing a Health Advising program specifically for Psoriatic Arthritis. If you have Psoriatic Arthritis, we’d like to offer you an early access pass and a chance to weigh in on what information and resources you need most.
This program launches in October. In the meantime, we'll be emailing you once a week to provide sneak peeks: tips and tricks, opportunities to schedule a free consultation with a Health Advisor, that kind of thing. Reserve a free seat with your name on it by entering your info below: