What is Psoriatic Arthritis??

Psoriasis

First off, what is psoriasis? It is a skin disorder that is caused by an overactive immune system. Those without psoriasis produce new skin cells, & shed old skin cells, generally in about every 28 to 30 days.

When one has psoriasis, they will produce new skin cells, & shed old skin cells in 3 to 4 days.  And that’s due to an overactive immune system.

So, since your body is producing new skin cells in 3 to 4 days, instead of the regular 28 to 30 days, it doesn’t get the chance to shed the old skin cells. Causing a pile up on top of each other, that push to the top of your skin. Which then forms a build-up of thick, itchy, red, flaky, sometimes burning patches on your skin that are often called plaques.


Psoriatic Arthritis (PsA)

I gave a little information on psoriasis, cause usually those that have psoriasis, about 30%, develop Psoriatic Arthritis (PsA). And, it was the case with myself. Now just because you have psoriasis does not mean that you will get PsA. But know that it could happen.

So, what is psoriatic arthritis?? I won’t break it down into the several different types of PsA one can get, but provide an understandable explanation in general.

PsA is an autoimmune disease that attacks healthy joints — causing inflammation that triggers joint swelling, stiffness, and pain.  Often the pain can be excruciating!  And over time can become disabling.  Currently, there is no cure for Psoriatic Arthritis.

Those of us that suffer from PsA can have flare-ups. A flare-up is a time when your symptoms get tremendously worse.  I’ve had flare-ups last many weeks.  Once, I endured a flare-up for three months.  It was horrible! I have become somewhat disabled.  I dislike that word. All my toes are fused due to severe joint damage. That is why getting a diagnosis early is so important. My right-hand fingers are affected as well. The damage is beginning to appear on my left hand, where I’m also experiencing numbness.

Personally, I truly believe that if I had gotten diagnosed sooner, I wouldn’t have as much damage to the joints that I have today.  Early detection is key.  Often it goes misdiagnosed, or not diagnosed at all.

Know the symptoms:
Changes in your nails, like pitting, discoloration, or separation from the nail bed.
>  Frequently experiencing joint tenderness and/or stiffness.
> Joints that look red, and can be warm to the touch.
> Pain in or around your ankles or feet.
> Pain in your lower back, just above your tailbone.
> Pain, swelling, and/or stiffness in one or more of your joints.
> Sausage looking swelling in one or more of your fingers or toes.

Get in touch with your doctor if you have two or more of these symptoms, especially if members of your family are affected by PsA.  Ask for blood work to be done.  Remember, the doctor is being paid, providing care for YOU!!


Takin’ Care of Yourself

Takin’ care of yourself is so critical. And I don’t always feel up to doing it. But that is part of this disease.  You do what you can when you can.  Do be kind to yourself, cause if you beat yourself up, over what you can’t do, depression will soon follow.  I’m talking from my own experience here.

    • Exercise (it doesn’t have to be gym oriented either!)
    • Eat properly
    • Manage stress (I know, I know–easier said than done)
    • Supplements
    • Vitamins
    • Treatments
    • Herbal remedies

    It is not true that people stop pursuing dreams because they grow old; they grow old because they stop pursuing dreams.”   ― Gabriel García Márquez

     

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