Is My Bone Health Impacted By Psoriatic Arthritis?
Last updated: December 2021
Does psoriatic arthritis (PsA) really impact our bone health? The short answer, of course, is yes. Interestingly enough, even after my PsA diagnosis, this was never mentioned to me. By my doctor or by others in the community.
My PsA diagnosis came during an annual checkup where I was chatting with my dermatologist about feeling a little different. I was experiencing even more joint swelling and tenderness in my fingers and toes. My swelling and heel pain were early signs of psoriatic arthritis.
The impact of inflammation
Now how about my bones? Well, my fingers are now distorted and difficult to move. I have known something was wrong with these fingers for years - I never put two and two together. My rheumatologist told me that PsA can lead to inflammation in the small bones of the hands and feet, causing them damage.
Of course, this information came to me thirty years later. He also said that my bones may get shorter because of bone loss. Psoriatic arthritis causes bone erosion and joint degeneration, like rheumatoid arthritis. You can get inflammation and calcification at tendon insertions.
Research has revealed that PsA certainly appears to have an influence on bone health, from bone erosions to the formation of spurs. Bone spurs form where tendons stick to bones, making movement uncomfortably painful and causing joint inflammation.
Those of us with PsA exhibit much greater bone damage, far more bone erosions, and spurs, than healthy individuals and those with psoriasis only. The prolonged inflammation in psoriatic arthritis might speed up the process of bone erosion.
Caring for my bones...
Corticosteroids, which I was on, can help alleviate inflammation. When it comes to gender disparity, well, ladies guess what, we get dealt a double whammy. Not only do we have to deal with postmenopausal which causes bone loss because our estrogen level is low. We get the overlapping of both.
I would say it gets better, but we also have to deal with a muscular decline to increased bone mineral loss in postmenopausal women with PsA. Will it ever end? I'm in my mid-sixties, so I do feel that the treatments that I am on are safe for bone health.
Talk to your doctor about the ideal approach to maintain bone health while managing inflammation as well as other symptoms. I take extra measures like taking calcium and vitamin D supplements for the minimization of bone loss. This is under the watch of my doctor.
I know we all talk about lifestyle changes like improving exercise. I lost 40 pounds, gave up alcohol and smoking years ago, but I do believe these things are important to help maintain bone health.
Yes, we can live a very happy life with PsA by managing symptoms and developing an individualized, actionable, and treatment plan that enhances our overall wellbeing and quality of life. Hang in there and don’t let this get you down. Sure, you may have bad days but don’t let those bad days take over your life or your mind. You are not alone.
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