About Psoriatic Arthritis
Though there is no cure, there is a growing range of treatments available to help stop the disease progression, lessen pain, protect joints and preserve range of motion. If you have or suspect you may have PsA, it is extremely important to work with a rheumatologist (a doctor who specializes in how the immune system affects joints, bone and muscles) to find the right treatment plan. For help finding a rheumatologist near you, contact the Patient Navigation Center.
Early recognition, diagnosis and treatment of PsA can prevent or limit the extensive joint damage that can occur in later stages of the disease.
How PsA is Diagnosed
Unfortunately, there is no definitive diagnostic test for PsA. The diagnosis is made mostly by your doctor's observations and by a process of elimination. For example, the symptoms of PsA are similar to those of rheumatoid arthritis, gout and reactive arthritis. Your doctor will talk with you about your medical history and may perform a physical examination, blood tests, MRI and X-rays.
If you think you might have PsA, take this short five-question screener. Share your results with your health care provider.
PsA can occur in any joint or wherever your ligaments and tendons connect to bone. Learn more about the symptoms and signs of PsA, including spondylitis, enthesitis and dactylitis.
What You Can Do
Treatments for PsA range from oral medications that reduce inflammation and swelling to biologic therapies that are injected or infused, while targeting specific parts of your immune system to combat PsA symptoms and slow joint damage. You should see a rheumatologist to receive the highest standard of specialized care for your joints and connective tissues. Ask your health care provider to refer you to a rheumatologist or contact the Patient Navigation Center for help finding a rheumatologist in your area.
Life with PsA
The impact of PsA on your quality of life is similar to that of rheumatoid arthritis (RA). But there are significantly fewer resources for people living with PsA than there are for people with RA. These inequalities in health resources have led to an unacceptable situation regarding PsA:
- Inadequate research
- Symptoms often misunderstood or not treated effectively
- Diagnoses often delayed
- Conflicting information that impacts the management of the disease
- Lack of understanding on how the disease can impact quality of life
- Too few rheumatologists with PsA knowledge and experience