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Compare & Contrast: Psoriatic Arthritis Is A Unique Condition

Psoriatic arthritis. A unique condition that unfortunately, not many people have heard of. Though when you mention its name, strangers and friends alike will tell you about an arthritis condition they have heard of. They will even offer unsolicited, unrelated, and especially unhelpful advice to go with it.

It's like receiving a meal you didn't order - but the person delivering it is insisting that you did. Cue the friendly head nod and the internal screaming.

Psoriatic arthritis is a stand-alone condition.

Is it the name? When people hear arthritis - they are so quick to judge and begin lumping it with other arthritic conditions. Fine, but it can be so exhausting trying to backtrack and explain its uniqueness. I guess it is all a part of the journey. Eliminating the misconceptions is often half the battle.

Let's break down those commonly confused conditions and showcase that rheumatic conditions remain exclusive, unique, and hold their own set of symptoms, treatments, and experiences.

It's not rheumatoid arthritis (RA)

When you have RA, your immune system attacks the lining of the tissues around your joints. They swell up and become painful. Over time, they can become damaged and deformed. With PsA, your immune system attacks and damages not just your joints, but your skin, as well.
​​PsA & RA

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It's certainly not osteoarthritis

Osteoarthritis happens when cartilage in your joints wears away over time. In contrast, psoriatic arthritis is an autoimmune disease. It happens when your immune system mistakenly views healthy cells as a threat and attacks them. Psoriatic arthritis can affect your skin, nails, and joints.
​​PsA & osteoarthritis

It's not ankylosing spondylitis either...

Ankylosing spondylitis (AS) and psoriatic arthritis (PsA) are both forms of arthritis that cause joint swelling, stiffness, and pain. In AS, these symptoms strike predominantly in the back and sacroiliac joints (where the spine connects with the pelvis), though other joints can be involved.

In PsA, symptoms often occur in the hands and feet, and sometimes in other areas, including the knees and back.
​​PsA & AS

It's not fibromyalgia

PsA is a type of inflammatory arthritis that causes joint and tissue inflammation throughout the body. It can also affect the skin. Fibromyalgia also affects the muscles, tendons, and other soft tissues, causing whole-body pain.
​​PsA & fibromyalgia

It's definitely not lupus

Don't feel bad if you get lupus and psoriatic arthritis mixed up, because they share some symptoms. If you've got pain and swelling in your joints, it could be a sign of either disease. Your doctor can set you straight, but there are some key ways to tell them apart.
​​PsA & Lupus

We live with psoriatic arthritis.

Having our condition lumped in with another can feel invalidating, lonely, and very very annoying. On that note, we can find validation, support, and understanding from those who live with the same condition. Where can we find this type of resource?

Well, we turned to our own Facebook page and asked "Have you ever had your psoriatic arthritis compared to other arthritis conditions? How did it make you feel?". Here are a few responses...

  • "Yes I have. I try to explain it but they’ll just say 'Oh yeah, I’m tired too' or 'I’m very forgetful too'. I wish everyone could have it for a day. Then they would understand."
  • "A co worker says 'Yeah, I know all about it. I have arthritis too.' I get so defensive that I could cry sometimes. People have no clue what we go through."
  • "I just say I have an autoimmune disease so I don't have to explain what PsA is after they looked confused!"

Our own patient leaders even have experience with this! Jaime shares her favorite response when people begin comparing: I’m Sorry. I Don’t Have That Disease. Diane breaks down what she notices are the biggest differences between RA and PsA - one condition she notices her PsA consistently get confused for.

Your PsA journey is just as unique.

Do you feel that your psoriatic arthritis is overlooked? Consistently compared to other conditions that aren't even related or close to the pain you feel daily? Based on what many in this online community of have shared, you're not alone.

If you would like to share your exclusive experience - and get input from people who also live with this painful, chronic and unique condition, we invite you to share your story by clicking on the blue button below.

Yes, psoriatic arthritis is a unique condition, and while it may feel like many people do not understand, our community does. Thank you for showing up and being here exactly as you are.

This or That

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This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

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