What People With Psoriatic Arthritis Wish You Knew
It Isn’t Your Grandpa’s Arthritis
Most people hear arthritis and think of senior citizens. But anyone can get this type at any age. It can affect big joints like knees and ankles, but it can also show up in your fingers, toes, and back. You might have joint pain and tenderness, as well as fatigue.
Yes, It Is Tied to Psoriasis
People with psoriasis can get it, but not all of them do. And sometimes the arthritis shows up first. Psoriasis causes painful, scaly patches of skin that can cover large parts of the person’s body. Many people find it embarrassing, so keep that in mind when you start to ask questions.
Things Change Quickly
Here’s how this type of arthritis usually works: One day you’re fine, and the next your joints are swollen and so painful you can barely move. People with psoriatic arthritis call this a flare. It can come and go. It might last one day or several. They often come out of nowhere and cause sudden changes of plans.
They’re Not Lazy
Fatigue is common for people with psoriatic arthritis. Just because someone who has it was ready to hit the hiking trail with you one day doesn’t mean he’ll feel up to it the next. Be flexible about changing plans. Ask if he’d rather stay in and watch movies instead.
Don’t Take ‘No’ Personally
If your friend has a flare or just feels super tired, she might break plans. Often. Cut her some slack when she has to cancel. She probably wants to be there more than you know.
It’s OK to Offer Help
If you live with someone who has psoriatic arthritis, it’s OK to ask them if they need help. On a bad day, even scrambling an egg can be a huge chore. Lend a hand whenever you can. Or better yet, sit down and make a list of things you can do for them. Even small acts of support from friends and family mean a lot.
They Don’t Always Look Sick
People who live with pain every day often do grin and bear it. Just because your friend’s social media feed is full of positive messages, it doesn’t mean she doesn’t hurt. Help her stay positive. Tell her she looks great when you see her. It makes the effort she took to get dressed, put on makeup, and drive to see you even more worth it!
Skip the Medical Advice
That’s what the doctor is for. And after years of illness, they really do know more about their disease, its triggers, and how well treatments work than you do. Channel your urge to help into asking how their treatment is working. If they seem like they want to talk, go ahead. If not, find another subject.
You Can Ask Questions
When you ask questions, that’s a chance for someone who has psoriatic arthritis to teach someone else about this condition. Just don’t offer suggestions for treatment unless you’re a doctor.
No Cure Doesn’t Mean No There’s No Treatment
People with psoriatic arthritis have options. There are treatments to manage pain as well as special medications that stop the inflammation. That helps prevent further joint damage.
It Can Affect Anyone
Pro golfer Phil Mickelson makes it no secret that he has psoriatic arthritis. But that doesn’t mean it only affects men in their 40s. Women can get it, and so can kids. It can run in families, too.