Take the Initiative During PsA Action Month
You might have heard that May is Arthritis Awareness Month, but when psoriatic arthritis (PsA) gets lumped in with more well-known diseases like osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis, it’s easy to see how PsA gets left in the shadows.
Lucky for us PsA-ers, the National Psoriasis Foundation has designated May as Psoriatic Arthritis Action Month. Psoriatic-arthritis.com has partnered up with the National Psoriasis Foundation in a Flare Care Giveaway to help spread awareness of Action Month, so, don’t forget to enter. Now, let’s shed some light on this disease!
The quick 411 on PsA
According to the National Psoriasis Foundation (NPF), as many as 2.4 million Americans have PsA, a chronic inflammatory autoimmune disease that causes swelling, stiffness, and pain in joints and tendons. In addition, PsA can also affect organs, such as lungs, heart, and eyes.
“Studies show that delaying the treatment of PsA for as little as six months could result in permanent joint damage,” NPF stated in a press release.
About 30-40% of patients with psoriasis also have psoriatic arthritis, though some psoriatic arthritis patients do not have psoriasis at all. According to NPF, there is little connection between the severity of psoriasis and the severity of psoriatic arthritis, meaning that just because a patient might have a bad case of psoriasis, that doesn’t necessarily mean the patient’s PsA will be severe, too.
It can feel overwhelming after an initial PsA diagnosis. Let’s be real, it can feel overwhelming at any stage of your disease. Connecting with others through Psoriatic-Arthritis.com is a great way to get emotional support and know you aren’t alone in the fight.
Fatigue? Been there.
Trouble finding comfortable shoes? Yep, been there, too.
Doctor troubles? Oh, the stories I can tell!
I recently got to meet other Psoriatic-Arthritis.com contributors and moderators in person. Even after living with PsA for more than 10 years, I still find comfort in talking with others who get what I am going through. Never underestimate the power of patient advocates!
For those looking for a personal mentor, NPF offers its One to One Program where patients and caregivers are matched with other patients who have experience with PsA to provide information and emotional support. Some of my most rewarding volunteerism has been as a One to One mentor. I love connecting with others and sharing my experiences.
On May 15, NPF, together with its partners, premiered two short documentaries that highlight real patients, their struggles, and how they overcame challenges to live a better life with PsA. “The Psoriatic Arthritis Awareness Project” aims to highlight the importance of treating PsA and receiving the best care possible.
During Psoriatic Arthritis Action Month, NPF invites you to visit its special web page for more resources to manage your PsA. You can:
- Contact the Patient Navigation Center for assistance in finding a rheumatologist and to learn about treatments.
- Request a Workplace Guide to help you understand your rights, learn how to advocate for yourself, and find ways to talk to your employer and coworkers about PsA.
- Visit the NPF Chronic Pain Management Hub for information on how to talk with your healthcare provider and discover treatment options for dealing with the chronic pain of PsA.
- Get informed and share information about PsA with your family and friends by downloading an educational guide on PsA.
- Find ways to get active by attending NPF events in your area or by being a virtual participant.
How do I plan to take action? For me, I will continue to have conversations with people I meet about what PsA is and how it affects me. I will push myself to keep moving when I’d rather be in bed. I will stand up for myself and others when told to try a funky diet or take some aspirin to cure our disease. I will be there for other patients when they are having a bad day and need a virtual shoulder to cry on.
Will you join me? Share how you will take action to live a better life with PsA. Even a little step can make the biggest difference.