The big questions

If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with psoriatic arthritis (PsA), you’re likely wondering how this condition might impact your life, both now and in the future.

It may help to know that there are several treatment options for easing symptoms, and researchers are always searching for new ones.

PsA can be a serious chronic inflammatory condition that can cause significant pain and, in severe cases, disability. But it’s possible to manage your condition through medications and lifestyle changes.

In most cases, the joint pain and inflammation caused by PsA respond well to treatment.

PsA is a chronic condition, which means there’s no cure. Medications can treat its symptoms, however, and PsA isn’t life-threatening.

Some research suggests that people with PsA have a slightly shorter life expectancy than the general population. This is similar to other autoimmune conditions, like rheumatoid arthritis. It might be because people with PsA are also at an increased risk of developing heart disease.

If you have severe PsA, talk to your doctor about the best treatments to ease your symptoms and prevent chronic inflammation.

It’s hard to predict exactly how PsA will affect your life because people experience symptoms differently. For some, the condition progresses quickly and causes more severe symptoms, while others may go quite some time without noticing a huge change.

PsA symptoms can include:

  • joint pain
  • inflammation
  • stiffness
  • tiredness
  • decreased range of motion

Symptoms can make it tough to complete everyday activities, such as opening doors or lifting grocery bags. It’s normal to feel frustrated when it seems your body isn’t cooperating. But there are also tools and modifications that can help make these tasks easier.

Early diagnosis and treatment can help ease pain and slow damage to joints, so it’s important to talk to your doctor if you notice any symptoms.

In a review published in Pharmacy and Therapeutics, researchers looked at 49 studies to compare quality-of-life outcomes for people with PsA to the general population.

Those with the condition experienced a “lower health-related quality of life.” They also experienced decreased physical function and an increased risk of mortality.

Other research found that having both psoriasis and PsA may cause additional complications compared to having psoriasis alone.

But each person diagnosed with the condition is different. Some people may experience a severe case, where joint deformity and bone enlargement may ultimately occur. Others may only ever experience mild to moderate symptoms.

Your doctor may ask you to complete a quality of life questionnaire to assess how PsA is impacting your life. These questions are designed to help doctors determine how symptoms (either joint pain or psoriasis) impact your daily activities.

Once the doctor has a better understanding of how PsA affects you personally, they’re better able to come up with an individual treatment plan.

Your quality of life can be greatly improved by working closely with our doctor to identify causes of PsA flares and finding the right treatment plan for you.

People with PsA can experience the condition differently. Some may have mild symptoms that aren’t very noticeable, while others may have more severe symptoms that affect daily life.

No matter what your symptoms are, working with your doctor to find the right treatments can greatly improve your outlook and quality of life.