"I Have Psoriatic Arthritis- When Will I Develop Psoriasis?"
Watching my mother break out with psoriasis was one of the hardest things I've ever done. It was so emotionally and physically painful for her. Just watching, I knew it was something I never wanted to go through. And, knock on wood, I haven't. Yet.
It's been years since I was diagnosed with psoriatic arthritis. However, I've never actually dealt with psoriasis. My family history, nail issues, and other symptoms fit the bill for psoriatic arthritis. I'm thankful for every year that goes by without psoriasis, but I know it could happen one day. And for years I've lived in fear of it.
What we know about psoriatic arthritis and psoriasis
Psoriatic arthritis without psoriasis isn't too common- arthritis precedes skin involvement in about 15% of cases.1 However, it's more common for children, with about half experiencing arthritis first.2 But even this information is hard to find, and it's even harder to find information about life with PsA without PsO. Unfortunately, that means we don't know as much about what the future holds. Most information we have is just that some people go on to develop psoriasis while others don't. And I hate that uncertainty.
In limbo- not knowing if psoriasis is in my future
I often feel like I'm living in limbo. With arthritis, you never know if and when your next flare will hit. But for those of us without psoriasis, it can be nerve-wracking to wonder if and when you'll develop it. I wish I had a crystal ball to see into the future, and at least know whether it will happen or not.
Worrying over developing psoriasis can be engulfing. Having watched my mother develop psoriasis during a stressful event, every time I feel extreme pressure I worry it'll happen to me (which doesn't help at all). And I panic every time I develop rashes or blemishes and breathe a sigh of relief when it ends up being nothing.
Getting reassurance from others who understand
Even though it's not extremely common to meet people with psoriatic arthritis without psoriasis, it's not impossible. Sure, it's not every day you encounter them in person. But online sites (like this one) and social media support groups bring people with different experiences together. So don't hesitate to reach out! Ask questions, or introduce yourself to the group. Usually, there's at least one person who can say "I'm going through the same thing."
Meeting others, even online, has helped me a lot. It's reassuring to know I'm not alone. And even encouraging! I find a lot of comfort reading others experiences, and feel more hopeful about the future- even if it does include psoriasis one day.
Handling the uncertainty of what the future holds
I don't know what my future holds, which is scary. And many other people feel the same way. But I think it's important to look at the positives. Because I'm already diagnosed with psoriatic arthritis, I'm using treatments that may be helping to stave off psoriasis. Plus, my medical team is already aware that this could happen and is ready to treat it at a moment's notice. And I have people there for me who have gone through it too.
Can you exercise with your PsA symptoms?