When Your PsA Flare Is FLARING
Last updated: April 2023
While the symptoms of psoriatic arthritis (PsA) may differ from person to person, one thing remains constant — experiencing flares.
What is a flare, you ask? It is that period of time when your symptoms significantly worsen. For many people, it can feel like the symptoms are unbearable. Flares can happen at any time and can be very challenging to manage.
Learning about psoriatic arthritis flares
We conducted the 2017 Psoriatic Arthritis In America Survey to learn more about what it’s like to live with a chronic condition in which flares are so commonly experienced. Over 1,000 people completed the survey. Here are the highlights from what the community shared with us.
The body parts most affected by flares
PsA symptoms can be experienced over your whole body. People who took the survey reported many distinct areas of the body that were affected by PsA symptoms.
Working through the frustrating flare
When a flare occurs, it can feel discouraging, particularly if you thought your treatment plan was working!
When flares seem to last forever
While it can sometimes feel like a flare lasts forever, we found that there is a wide variety of experiences in how frequently people experienced flares and how long they lasted.
Among people who took the survey, almost three-quarters experienced flares monthly or more often. Many flares lasted several weeks or more.
Flares usually strike after being triggered by something that’s going on in your daily life, from a change in your diet to a change in the weather. Some things are within your control, while others are not.
It is important to be aware of what may be a trigger for you. In our survey, 84 percent of people with flares said they had identified their triggers. Stress and weather or climate changes were the most common.
The importance of treatment
For many people, having PsA and experiencing flares negatively impacts their quality of life. Survey respondents reported that their ability to exercise or participate in physical activity was the area of their life most negatively affected.
Less frequent but still common aspects of life that were reported include work, sleep, and social life.
How to manage those dreaded flares!
People with PsA manage their flares in several ways. Pain medicines such as NSAIDs, rest, and heat therapy were the 3 most frequently used tactics.
Coping with a PsA flare
Coping with a condition that encompasses such a wide range of symptoms can be frustrating. Many people describe this condition as extremely painful, both physically and mentally.
Finding strength in community
Please know that you are not alone. Our community here at Psoriatic-Arthritis.com understands and supports you even when you’re dealing with your worst flare.
And when that happens, reach out to us on Facebook or in forums!
The 2017 Psoriatic Arthritis In America Survey was conducted online from May 2017 to July 2017. The survey was completed by 1,033 people.
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