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What is Psoriatic Arthritis?


What Is Psoriatic Arthritis (PsA)?

It’s important to learn as much as you can about your condition. That includes understanding your symptoms and how PsA affects your body. Knowing more can help you talk with your doctor about the treatment that’s right for you.

What happens when you have PsA?

Normally, your immune system works to protect your body from foreign substances like bacteria, viruses, and germs. While the exact cause is unknown, when you have PsA, your immune system attacks healthy tissue and cells in your body. That’s why PsA is called an autoimmune disease.

The disease may affect the skin and joints

PsA symptoms may include:

  • Joint pain, swelling, or stiffness
    — These may occur on one side of the body (asymmetrical), or both sides (symmetrical)
  • Swollen fingers and/or toes
  • Heel pain or tenderness
  • Lower back pain and stiffness
  • Thick, red, scaly patches on the skin
    — These may appear on the elbows, knees, ankles, feet, or hands

Who gets PsA?

PsA affects approximately 670K - 1.3 million adults in the US

PsA often appears between ages 30 and 50.

PsA often appears between ages 30 and 50

PsA is more common in Caucasians than African Americans or Asian Americans.

PsA is more common in Caucasians than African Americans or Asian Americans

PsA is a chronic (long-term) disease

PsA is a chronic, or long-term, disease. If the pain, stiffness, swelling, and skin symptoms are not caught early, they can worsen over time. That’s why early diagnosis and treatment is important. While there is no cure, there are medicines that can help relieve these symptoms. This can help you perform everyday activities with less difficulty.


Talking With Your Doctor

Your doctor needs to know about your symptoms and how they affect your everyday activities. Be open and honest with your doctor about your symptoms.

Here are a few suggestions:

  • Write down the symptoms you’ve been having and make note of any new ones. Has anything changed since your last doctor visit?
  • Go into detail: If something hurts, describe how bad it is
  • Write down how symptoms affect your ability to do everyday activities
  • Make a list of the medicines you take, previous medical procedures, and your disease history

Take these notes with you to your next doctor’s appointment. Don’t forget to talk with your doctor about your treatment goals and the types of activities you’d like to get back to doing.