Psoriatic Arthritis: What You See vs. What You Don’t

Psoriatic arthritis is a form of inflammatory arthritis that affects some people who have psoriasis. Psoriasis is marked by scaly, red patches that are often painful and may be itchy. Most people are diagnosed with psoriasis first and are later diagnosed with psoriatic arthritis; however, joint problems can begin for some before the skin lesions from psoriasis appear.

Psoriatic arthritis can cause swelling, stiffness, and a feeling of heat in the joints. Fatigue is a common symptom of psoriatic arthritis sufferers, as well as nail changes like nail pitting. Nail pitting is characterized by depressions in the surface of the nail.

Many people think that psoriatic arthritis is all about the physical symptoms. In reality, managing the disease means living with the physical symptoms as well as the emotional toll they take. As a psoriatic arthritis sufferer myself, I know this all too well. While I have to worry about coping with the pain and fighting the urge to scratch the red patches on my skin, I’m also worried about what others are thinking or saying about me. I will take the time to try and cover the lesions on my skin with clothing and many times anything that’s still visible I will attempt to cover with makeup.

On a day where my fingers are swollen and sore and I can barely put my blouse on, I would love to not have to worry about what others are thinking. Unfortunately, the condition is not readily understood and I am more likely to be stared at all day or even asked if I am contagious than encounter someone who knows it’s just psoriatic arthritis.

Some days I wish I had the confidence and drive to throw on shorts and a tank top for the day, or even head to the beach in a bathing suit. The reality for me is that the stress and anxiety associated with doing something like that is too much. I also know that when I get stressed, I’m more at risk of having a flare. I have hope that one day understanding about the disease will change and that advancements in medicine will help with my symptoms.

Living with psoriatic arthritis is not easy but taking an active role in your health and managing your lifestyle can help. If you or someone you love is struggling to manage psoriatic arthritis symptoms, research studies exploring potential new treatment options are enrolling now. Study participants have access to potential new treatment medications and are cared for by board-certified physicians. Qualified participants may also receive compensation for time and travel expenses. To learn more and see how you may qualify, click HERE.