Psoriasis affects nearly 7.5 million people in the United States. About 15 percent of people with psoriasis will develop psoriatic arthritis, which causes joint pain, redness and swelling. While psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis can’t be cured, they can be treated and there are ways to manage symptoms.1, 2
Your experience with psoriatic arthritis may be very different from another patient’s including:
- Symptoms can be mild or severe
- Some have only occasional flares while others have continuous symptoms
- It can affect a single joint or several
- The same joint on both sides of the body can be affected (for example, both knees), or symptoms may appear on only one side of the body
In addition to joint pain, some people experience pain and swelling in their fingers or toes (called dactylitis) along with changes to their fingernails. In some patients, it affects the spine (called spondylitis). It can also cause pain where tendons or ligaments connect to bone (called enthesitis). Enthesitis is one of the characteristic features of psoriatic arthritis.
If you’ve been diagnosed with psoriatic arthritis, you've probably had multiple tests, such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) or computed tomography (CT) scans, x-rays, ultrasound, and blood tests. These tests are used to evaluate your joints and rule out other conditions that have similar symptoms, such as osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis and gout.
How your doctor decides to treat your condition and the things that are effective in managing your symptoms depend on the symptoms you experience and how severe they are. Because psoriatic arthritis can cause permanent damage to your joints, it's important to follow your doctor’s instructions, take your medications exactly as prescribed, and live a healthy lifestyle by exercising, eating well and managing stress.
The more you know about your psoriatic arthritis, the more actively you can participate in your care. If you have any questions or concerns, talk to your doctor or contact your CVS Specialty CareTeam at 1-800-237-2767. Your CareTeam is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week to answer questions about your condition, medications, or any side effects you may be experiencing.