Community Views: The Link Between Psoriatic Arthritis and Psoriasis
Last updated: October 2021
People with severe psoriasis could have a greater chance of getting psoriatic arthritis. Psoriasis skin plaques can flare up and then get better. Psoriatic arthritis symptoms may also come and go. About 40% of people who get psoriatic arthritis have relatives with it or with psoriasis.
Generally, skin symptoms precede the joint symptoms, however in about 10-15% of cases, PsA develops before psoriasis.1 It is also important to note that there is a population of those who live with PsA without a formal diagnosis of psoriasis.
The connections of psoriatic disease
There is a common connection between the 2 conditions: inflammation. At the core of both of these diagnoses are inflammation and an immune system that attacks the body.
To find out more about the experiences of those living with psoriatic disease, we reached out to community members. On the Facebook pages of both PlaquePsoriasis.com and Psoriatic-Arthritis.com, we asked: “Are you diagnosed with psoriasis in addition to your psoriatic arthritis?”
Nearly 200 people weighed in, and here is a look at some of the responses.
Diagnosed with psoriasis first
The overwhelming majority of people who responded to this story shared that they have been diagnosed with both illnesses. It is most common to find out first that you have psoriasis, then to discover years later that you also have psoriatic arthritis.
- “Yes, I had psoriasis for many years before any psoriatic arthritis.”
- “Yes, I was diagnosed with psoriasis 9 years before psoriatic arthritis.”
- “Yes. I had psoriasis first, then psoriatic arthritis several years later.”
Found out about psoriatic arthritis decades after psoriasis
One of the most common responses to the prompt was that, yes, many people have both. For them, their psoriatic arthritis showed up decades after psoriasis.
- “I have had psoriasis since I was a teenager (about 40 years ago), mainly on my knees and elbows but occasionally in other places as well. In my 30s, it started to go on my ears and nose and spread to other places. It was not until I was in my 50s that I was diagnosed with psoriatic arthritis.”
- “My psoriasis was first diagnosed when I was about 6 years old. My psoriatic arthritis was first diagnosed when I was in my 40s.”
- “Yep. Had psoriasis since I was 10. Then psoriatic arthritis came in my 30s.”
It all started with 1 symptom
For many people, the journey that eventually includes both diagnoses started with just 1 symptom. That symptom could be nail or scalp psoriasis, or something else connected to psoriasis. When any of these symptoms show up, it could be a good idea to tell your doctor to keep a watch for psoriatic arthritis.
- “The first thing I was diagnosed with was nail psoriasis from a dermatologist. He then sent me to a rheumatologist. Since my mom has psoriatic arthritis, he said it was a matter of ‘when’ not ‘if’ for me getting it. A few months later, X-rays proved that I had psoriatic arthritis.”
- “Yes. I had scalp psoriasis for quite a while before I was diagnosed with psoriatic arthritis.”
Have only psoriatic arthritis
A handful of members in the community shared that they only have psoriatic arthritis and not psoriasis.
- “I have psoriatic arthritis but no psoriasis. My family has a strong history of psoriasis though on both sides. I guess I am kind of lucky!”
- “No, just psoriatic arthritis.”
- “No, just psoriasis arthritis and found out about it a month ago.”
Like psoriasis, PsA is chronic and potentially a part of the progression journey of the skin condition. PsA is also a progressive condition meaning it can get worse over time. Proper treatment is key to preserving your quality of life and reducing your risk of complications.
Thank you to everyone who shared their experiences. As always, we are grateful to hear from so many in the community.
Do you have any questions about PsA?