Know your condition series – Psoriatic Arthritis

Rather than talking about myself all the time, I thought it might be beneficial for passers-by and subscribers alike to have a quick fire post to refer to regarding relevant conditions I’m likely to discuss on this blog.

This series isn’t intended to be be massively in-depth and I am not in any way medically trained (I’ll reference my sources), just high-level details about the most common auto-immune conditions, what they are, what do typical symptoms look like, at-risk groups (where appropriate) and some tips and links that people might use to manage that condition – which might prove useful to the recently diagnosed or supporting family members. I hope it helps!

What is psoriasis and who does it affect?

Psoriatic arthritis (PsA) is a type of arthritis that normally impacts people who have the more commonly known psoriasis skin condition. Some people experience plaque psoriasis before inflammation in the joints and others have joint disease years before any obvious rash. Patients with severe psoriasis skin disease are at a higher risk of developing PsA.

Psoriasis can affect people of any age and there is no real preference towards male or female but onset is more commonly seen between the ages of 30-50 years of age. It is estimated that although some PsA patients condition is stable, 40-60% of people with PsA develop worsening, more severe symptoms over time.

The symptoms

The most common symptoms of PsA is pain, fatigue, swelling and morning stiffness in the commonly affected joints of (but not limited to) hands, feet (including heels), knees, hips and shoulders although in some patients swelling is not observed or experienced.

Tips to manage your symptoms (alongside any prescribed medicine)

  • Exercise regularly – this is essential with PsA and helps to keep the affected joints mobile as well as aiding general wellbeing
  • Eat a healthy balanced diet – with lots of fresh fruit and vegetables, low in sugar, fat and salt to help combat fatigue that is commonly associated with PsA. Avoid alcohol where possible.

References and further reading

Mayo Clinic. Psoriatic arthritis: Symptoms & causes. Accessed: Nov 2019.

Arthritis Foundation. Psoriatic arthritis self care. Accessed: Nov 2019

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