It took me 25 years to get the proper treatment for my psoriatic arthritis pain. This is a form of arthritis that affects people diagnosed with the skin disorder psoriasis. People with psoriasis experience flare-ups of red, patchy skin or skin lesions. 15% of people with psoriasis develop psoriatic arthritis. There are some cases where you get the arthritis before you get the psoriasis. There is no cure yet.
My psoriatic arthritis has started affecting different parts of me. I have my good days and my bad days. As I get older, I am having more bad days. I am having lots of inflammation in the joints which is causing stiffness, swelling, and joint pain. In the past couple of years I have developed inflammation in the knees making it harder to walk.
When you try to explain what you have, people really don’t get it. They only hear the word arthritis and automatically think you have rheumatoid arthritis or some sort of other arthritis. It took me years to explain what it was.
I have had to have tests like a MRI, CT scans, and X-rays to see were the arthritis is in my body. My fingers and toes have been swelling for years, which sometimes can cause soreness and be very painful. I have started doing some light exercise to keep the joints flexible. Walking has help me a lot.
I try to explain that psoriasis is also another effect of psoriatic arthritis. Not only does the disease affect my skin, but it also damages my joints and causes inflammation and swelling. You can itch and flake like crazy. A skin biopsy can be used to confirm the diagnosis of psoriasis. I have had 6. Psoriasis can be mild, or it can be severe enough to impact quality of life. Symptoms may flare up periodically, and then go into remission. I have never been in remission in the 50 years I have had this disease.
I have lost count of how many people say to me, oh yeah. I have arthritis, too. My bones really hurt. It’s hard to explain that mind is different. I don’t think my bones hurt. My body didn’t get old and start falling apart; my PsA just showed up. It started when I was in my twenties. I never saw it coming.
Psoriatic arthritis is an autoimmune condition. Your immune system is designed to protect you from viruses and bacteria. Sometimes, the body mistakenly attacks healthy tissue. In the case of psoriatic arthritis, the attack can include the joints. Psoriatic arthritis pain is a lifelong problem, but you may experience periodic attacks followed by remission.
Nobody knows how many days I deal with being fatigue. My energy level can be so low. Chronic pain is a major contributor to my fatigue. How can people get it that you are in constant pain which is all over your body? I was just diagnosed with fibromyalgia and put on more medications. There are days that I just don’t want to get out of bed and when I get out of bed; I just want to go back to bed. Being in pain disrupts your sleep. You go to sleep tired and you wake up tired.
Research has shown now that psoriasis can also lead to vision problems. Inflammatory lesions such as conjunctivitis are the most likely side effect. In very rare cases, psoriasis causes a loss of vision.
As your psoriatic arthritis pain gets worse, the damaged cartilage causes the bones to rub against each other. This just started happening to me. My rheumatologist told me to do moderate exercise to keep muscles strong. If I feel this is not enough that I needed to join an exercise program. I have notice that the fatigue can make the pain seem worse and the worsening pain can cause more fatigue.
This disease causes me pain and discomfort, but it can cause emotional pain as well. There are days that I am moody and just want to be left alone. I feel embarrassed and alone. This is not me, but no body understood. There have been times that my self-esteem was low; I felt depressed. I felt this way a lot when I was younger. I just couldn’t figure out how to manage my disease effectively. I would suggest joining a support groups or get counseling if you feel there is no way out.
- Over the years I have change my lifestyle. I am down 40 pounds. I’m eating better. I don’t drink or smoke; but just losing the weight has me feeling better and my energy level has improved. I eat more whole grains, fruits and vegetables.
- I walk daily and have notice that my energy level has greatly improve. This is helping my joints loosen and is easing the pain.
- My doctor is treating me more for pain which also is helping with the fatigue. My doctor also found out that I have a vitamin D deficiency and has put me on a treatment plan.
- Try to get a good night’s sleep. This is easier said than done. This won’t make the pain go away, but you will feel better.
- I have never been a water drinker. I drank coffee and soda’s every day. I have manage to add in more water. This will help the body maintain a balance of body fluids. The body is 60% water. Think of water as a nutrient that your body needs daily. Drink water, drink water, drink water.
When we have psoriatic arthritis pain, we get very tired and fatigued. I have developed high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes. I just want to say that I think that with this chronic illnesses we need to make healthy lifestyle choices. I have started doing the above things, but I still have a long ways to go.
As I educate myself. I am able to educate others and tell them exactly what psoriatic arthritis is and how to deal with psoriatic arthritis pain. Just remember; you are not alone in this journey.