Psoriasis and Psoriatic Arthritis: What’s the Missing Link?

Comic Demetri Martin likes to point out that worms and bears don’t have much in common until you think about gummy. Then, the similarities become clear. What Martin is pointing out that two things that are seemingly dissimilar can, in fact, have a link, if you are willing to look for the thread that connects them.

This principle can be seen when trying to figure out what a skin disease and a form of arthritis have in common. Despite appearances, psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis have more in common than just their names.

Psoriasis is a relatively common skin condition characterized by raised, scaly skin that may appear white or red. It is caused when the skin cells are being told to produce new skin cells at a rate faster than is needed.

Psoriatic arthritis is painful swelling and stiffness in joints, especially fingers, toes, and the spine. There is some conflicting information about the likelihood of developing psoriatic arthritis if you have psoriasis. According to various sources, the chances range from one in three to one in 10.

So, how are raised, scaly skin irritation and painful, stiff, swollen joints related? It turns out that these conditions are sometimes lumped as psoriatic disease. But what connects these two? It’s inflammation.
The scaly skin, called plaque in most cases of psoriasis, is formed because inflammation is telling those skin cells to reproduce. The same kind of inflammation, often caused by the same environmental factors, can cause the joints of a person to swell and become painful.

Unfortunately, both of these conditions are chronic, meaning they exhibit symptoms regularly or over a long period of time. People can really only treat the symptoms as they persist. Doctors recommend being vigilant with identifying triggers and avoiding them. A person’s diet is particularly important when it comes to avoiding those triggers.

Now that you know the “gummy” that connects these two conditions, maybe you’ll be able to find more in the near future.

Click here to read an article from a women’s health website discussing this connection.

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