What is Psoriatic Disease?
Psoriatic disease is a systemic condition affecting multiple body sites, predominately the skin, the joints, or both. Psoriatic disease is:
- Chronic: Psoriatic disease cannot be cured, and the disease can periodically relapse.
- Noncommunicable: Psoriatic disease is not contagious.
- Painful: Chronic inflammation leads to pain, especially joint and back pain.
- Disfiguring: Psoriatic disease, especially in its severe forms, can cause permanent disfigurement.
- Disabling: If left untreated or if treated inadequately, the chronic inflammation in the joints can lead to permanent disability.
- Inflammatory: Psoriatic disease is an immune-mediated disease where chronic inflammation causes the damages in multiple body sites and may contribute to depression.
Skin and joint symptoms are different manifestations of the same disease, that may manifest independently: a third of people with skin manifestations of psoriatic disease (psoriasis) will develop a type of inflammatory arthritis affecting joints and tendons (psoriatic arthritis); in some people, joint symptoms develop before the skin lesions.
In addition to skin and joint symptoms, psoriatic disease is characterized by increased risk of developing related noncommunicable diseases. The most common comorbidities are obesity, hypertension, dyslipidemia, diabetes (collectively referred to as metabolic syndrome), cardiovascular disease, and inflammatory bowel disease. Moreover, psoriatic disease has a major impact on mental health and quality of life.
Why we fight
Skin manifestations of psoriatic disease can be of different types – plaque, inverse, guttate, pustular and erythrodermic – and have different characteristics.
Psoriatic disease can affect any joint, tendon or ligament, causing pain, stiffness, and swelling.
Psoriatic disease has many consequences.
Physical: Many people struggle with the symptoms of psoriatic disease, as they might feel pain a lot of the time, experience constant itching or burning and tiredness. Comorbidities of psoriatic disease/Psoriatic disease comorbidities also significantly impact health. While there are treatment options, it can take a long time to find the treatment that works best for each individual.
Emotional: Psoriatic disease can be hard to deal with because of the stigma and prejudice attached to the disease. Depression and anxiety are prevalent among people living with psoriatic disease.
Social: Living with psoriatic disease can have a big impact on relationships with family, friends, partners, co-workers or fellow students. Many people with psoriatic disease report feeling unsupported. Persistent myths about psoriatic disease such as that people with the disease are “unclean”, that they “caused their own psoriasis” or that the disease is contagious, are untrue.
Economic: There are significant costs associated with psoriatic disease. The medication may be very expensive or not covered by insurance providers. Absenteeism and presenteeism are higher in people with psoriatic disease compared to the general population. The presence of comorbidities increases the costs. All of this may contribute to economic challenges.
Photos: Anne S./Psoriasisförbundet