Psoriatic Arthritis Support: Where to Find It


Psoriatic arthritis is an inflammatory autoimmune disease that frequently occurs in people with psoriasis, a skin condition that leads to itchy, scaly lesions, often on the knees, elbows, torso, and scalp. Psoriatic arthritis commonly affects the joints in the hands and feet and results in symptoms such as joint pain and swelling, as well as fatigue and nail changes.

But it’s not your grandfather’s arthritis. Psoriatic arthritis typically crops up in people ages 30 to 50. It can feel like an invisible disease, as not everyone can see the joint issues you’re dealing with. As a result, there’s a lot that’s misunderstood about the condition.

A lack of understanding among friends, family members, and even coworkers can affect your mental health. In some cases, it can even contribute to depression. According to a systematic review of people with the joint condition, 1 in 3 have anxiety and 1 in 5 deal with depression.

“For any chronic disease, including psoriatic arthritis or any other type of inflammatory arthritis, it’s essential to treat your emotional and mental health as seriously as your physical health,” says David Kung, MD, a board-certified rheumatologist at Austin Regional Clinic in Texas. “When mental health is unbalanced, it can result in increased pain and fatigue, impair work and personal relationships, and limit other activities of daily living. It can also impair your ability to get regular exercise, consume healthy meals, or manage your treatment plan effectively.”

Managing a chronic condition can also be a major source of stress, which can then make your psoriatic arthritis worse, adds Dr. Kung. The unpredictability of flare-ups can be a cause of stress and anxiety, making work and life planning more difficult. Meanwhile, the psoriasis-related skin lesions that often accompany psoriatic arthritis can be a visible source of embarrassment and stress, he says.


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