The rigours of daily life can be difficult enough without adding a constant feeling of soreness and discomfort. It can be difficult to wake up each morning, your knees, elbows and hands working against you, visible rashes a reminder of your pain. In people with psoriatic arthritis, the immune system targets its own joints causing pain, swelling, fatigue and stiffness in the joints.1 This may make even simple things difficult to do.2 But symptoms of PsA come and go, and through proper treatment and lifestyle changes, you can lessen this burden so that PsA doesn’t have to be a daily struggle.1
Psoriatic arthritis (PsA) is a chronic, immunological inflammatory disease that affects the joints.1 It is a form of arthritis that affects some people who have psoriasis.3 Although most people develop psoriasis first, joint problems can sometimes begin before skin patches appear.3 Nearly 80% of those with PsA also have psoriasis.4
Because PsA stems from an issue with your immune system, you may also be more likely to develop other diseases, such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, inflammatory intestinal disease, auto-immune eye disease, or fibromyalgia. Additionally, the emotional toll of feeling restricted and marked can lead many to develop depression.4
Without proper disease management, PsA can become increasingly severe and eventually leave your joints permanently disabled.3
The most common symptoms of PsA are pain, stiffness and swelling in your joints.3 PsA can affect any joint in your body, as well as create tender spots where tendons and ligaments join onto bones.5 Other symptoms may include fatigue, swelling in fingers and toes, changes in the appearance of your nails, difficulty sleeping, and red, painful eyes.6
These physical symptoms will likely come and go and vary in severity as disease flares may alternate with periods of remission.3,7
There are five types of PsA, identified by which joints are affected.8
Among those with Psoriasis, a relatively common, chronic disease, affecting roughly 2-3% of the world’s population, nearly 30% will develop PsA.10,11
Medical experts still do not know exactly what causes PsA. However, there are signs that it stems from a combination of your genes, immune system issues, and lifestyle.8 Psoriatic arthritis affects both genders equally, but is more likely to appear in people between 30 and 50 years old.1
Unfortunately, there is no definitive test to positively confirm a PsA diagnosis.1 However, if your doctor believes your developing symptoms may be caused by PsA, they may request an MRI or X-ray, blood test, and physical examination, coupled with a series of questions, to try and eliminate other likely diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis.1
Unfortunately, psoriatic arthritis is a chronic disease, which means no cure will get rid of it permanently. However, there are treatments available that can help reduce, or get rid of, symptoms so that you can lead a life unhindered by PsA.
For example, some anti-inflammatory medications will relieve pain and reduce swelling, while other drugs will work to tame your immune system so that it does not attack your joints as aggressively.12 There are also certain surgical procedures, including joint replacement surgery, which are more invasive but can help in more severe cases.12 It is important to discuss with your doctor what treatments are best suited for your type and severity of PsA before making a decision.
The physical toll PsA takes on the body, being unable to perform what should be simple tasks, can be incredibly difficult to accept and handle emotionally. It is understandable that the constant pain, feelings of helplessness, and shame of how your body looks can develop into feelings of depression. Know that your feelings are valid, and you do not have to walk this path alone.
If you find yourself struggling, consult a mental health professional or contact a support group to share and work through your feelings. There are plenty of resources at your disposal, as well as others experiencing the same symptoms you are, who are willing and able to help carry you through the mental fog in which you may feel stuck.
Sometimes, education is the best way to unmask a monster. Learning more about PsA can help you take control of your life. Pay attention to your body, understand what might be causing your symptoms to return after a period of remission, and what life choices help keep them at bay. Each piece of information is a step toward you taking back control of your body and your life.
The list below includes example questions to help start a conversation with your health care provider. There may be other relevant questions based on your symptoms, stage, and medical history that are not listed here.
Janssen recognises the debilitating effects diseases like psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis have on patients and their loved ones. That’s why, for more than a decade, our team has been dedicated to advancing the science behind dermatologic and rheumatologic conditions to improve patients’ lives.
We understand the importance of investigating multiple therapeutic options to meet individual patient needs. Through research and discovery, we will continue to expand our knowledge of disease pathways to further address the underlying causes of immune-mediated diseases like psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis.
Our ultimate goal is to provide maximize mobility and minimize pain and discomfort, by identifying opportunities for early prevention, interception and long-term remission of this chronic, sometimes debilitating, disease.
This website is developed exclusively by Janssen Pharmaceutica NV. Please note that the patient advocacy groups, and external sources listed below are an additional and independent source of information you might find useful. These groups and sources were not involved in the creation of this website and do not endorse its content in any way.
Janssen understands the physical and emotional toll that Psoriatic Arthritis (PsA) can take on the lives of everyone it touches. That’s why we’ve designed a place to help you take control of your disease and your life. A central hub with the information you need. With the right tools, there are no limits to what you can achieve. Because every day should be filled with triumphs, no matter how big or small they may be.
EUROPSO is an umbrella organization created to act as a voice for patients with psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis, as well as offer support and education to patients and their families who are dealing with these diseases.