April 17, 2014
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Psoriatic Arthritis (PsA)

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Impact of PsA

Psoriatic arthritis (PsA) can cause severe pain and swelling in the joints, an itchy skin rash, and nail damage such as pitting and peeling away from the skin. Over time, joints affected by psoriatic arthritis may change shape or lock and fuse together, leading to disability. Early diagnosis and appropriate early treatment can slow down the joint damage associated with PsA.

Figure 1

Over time, joints affected by psoriatic arthritis may change shape or lock and fuse together, leading to disability

Over time, joints affected by psoriatic arthritis may change shape or lock and fuse together, leading to disability.

PsA can also have a major impact on your quality of life. The pain, disability, and changes in appearance caused by PsA can make it difficult to function at work and at home, limit your social life, and affect your emotional and psychological well-being, causing feelings of sadness or helplessness. Fortunately, early diagnosis and treatment can help you get your life back.

Joint damage is common in people with PsA and starts early in the disease. PsA may be silently "smouldering" in your body, causing joint damage that you and your doctor cannot see without special tests called radiographic tests. These tests, which include X-rays and MRI scans (see "Diagnosing PsA" to learn more), can help your doctor check for joint damage and follow the health of your joints over time. They can also be used to make sure your treatment is working to help slow joint damage, which may lead to disability.

Ask your doctor about tests to check your radiographic progression (a series of X-ray or MRI pictures tracking how the disease affects your joints, bones, and nearby tissues over time). This can help you and your doctor build a treatment plan to help slow joint damage so that you can live life on your own terms and take control of your disease.

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