Increase Your Awareness of Psoriatic Arthritis

Patient Expert

In honor of World Arthritis Day, I want to emphasize the importance of speaking to your dermatologist and rheumatologist about how to take action if you think you may have psoriatic arthritis.

According to the National Psoriasis Foundation, approximately 30 percent of people with psoriasis develop psoriatic arthritis, which can cause pain, stiffness, and damage around the joints.

The National Arthritis Foundation describes it as a catch-all term for joint pain or joint disease. There are more than 100 different types of arthritis and related conditions. Your genes, immune system, and environmental factors are said to play a role in developing the disease.

If you have psoriasis, taking action and getting tested early for psoriatic arthritis is critical and prevents further damage. Even if arthritis doesn’t run in your family, ask your dermatologist if you should see a rheumatologist. This way you have a baseline and your rheumatologist can monitor any new pain or joint stiffness.

Advice from two psoriatic arthritis bloggers

Jaime Lyn Moy, a blogger at A Spot Of Hope, says there are several symptoms to look out for — including pitting in the nails, pain in the joints that is not related to an injury or overuse, fatigue, and/or morning stiffness.

Moy says if you experience any of these symptoms, you should ask your dermatologist if they are a cause for concern. If they are, your dermatologist should write you a referral for a rheumatologist.

Moy points out that your skin can be clear but you can still have pain and stiffness in your joints, and vice versa.

Also, she stresses that all your healthcare providers should be on the same page. “It can be difficult to get all your doctors talking,” Moy says “but if you ask each doctor to sign forms allowing them to talk with one another, this will help keep your care unified.”

Julie Cerrone Croner, blogger at It’s Just A Bad Day, Not a Bad Life,  says it’s important to tell your dermatologist and rheumatologist all of your symptoms, even if you don’t think they are related, because they very well could be. Your health care providers will be able to assist with the next steps that are right for you.

See more helpful articles:

10 Things that Make Life with Rheumatoid Arthritis Easier

Does Weather Affect Psoriatic Arthritis?