First, let’s break down the term psoriatic arthritis to help you better understand what the condition entails. Psoriasis is an autoimmune skin condition that results in inflammation throughout the body, specifically the skin.1 Skin cells grow quicker than usual and as a result, these cells accumulate on the skin’s surface rather than shedding as normal.1 Arthritis is a condition that involves inflammation or swelling of the joints.2 This inflammation usually results in limited mobility due to joint pain and stiffness.2
Psoriatic arthritis (PsA) is an autoimmune condition and a common complication of psoriasis.2,3 It occurs in 10-20% of people with psoriasis, but you may develop PsA without noticing or being diagnosed with psoriasis.4,5 While PsA is less common in Black Americans than whites, it may be more difficult to identify skin symptoms in Black patients.2 Symptoms may also be more severe.2 PsA has similar symptoms as other types of arthritis such as osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.4 Complete this screening tool to help assess if you may have PsA.
Identifying Psoriatic Arthritis
PsA may be caused by environmental or genetic factors. Other risk factors include family history, age (30-50 years old), obesity, and smoking.6 The time of onset and severity of PsA symptoms may vary.5 Common areas of involvement include the joints, spine, and areas where a tendon or ligament attaches to a bone.6
Common symptoms of PsA include
- Morning stiffness
- Skin rash that may appear anywhere on your body and may appear to be a purplish-brown color on darker skin complexions
- Changes to the color, thickness, or texture of your fingernails
- Painful swelling in your finger and toes that may resemble sausages
- Stiff and painful joints that may be red, hot, and swollen
- Pain, redness, and inflammation in your eyes
- Pain and tenderness at the back of the heel and sole of the foot
It is important to see a specialist if you suspect you may have PsA or if you are experiencing symptoms.
Communicating Your Concerns
You may feel anxious about speaking with your healthcare provider about your concerns, but know that you are making the best decision for your health. You should be prepared to discuss your symptoms and go into detail about what you are feeling and where.5 You may find it helpful to use a diary or journal to keep track of your symptoms and share with your provider. Advocate for yourself and ask questions. If you’re feeling uneasy, ask more questions. Your provider can help you better understand more about the disease, your treatment options, who you should follow up with for your care, and how to cope. There are also online resources such as the Patient Navigation Center that you can take advantage of.
Diversity in Psoriatic Arthritis Research
Diversity in clinical trials is important to help us understand how different groups may respond differently to treatment.3,7 Unfortunately, there is a lack of representation and PsA clinical trial participation among Black Americans.7 More research is needed to determine if and how PsA disproportionately impacts patients of different races.8 When you participate in a clinical trial, you are taking a bold step towards progress. Participating in a clinical trial can help you learn more about your condition while receiving expert care. If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with PsA and have not been treated with any medications recently, you may be eligible to participate in a clinical trial. If you are interested in learning more about if you may be eligible for PsA clinical trial participation, visit BMS Study Connect.
Funded by Bristol Myers Squibb.
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- National Psoriasis Foundation. About Psoriasis
- Arthritis Foundation. Arthritis in the Black Community
- BIPOC Patient Voices: Living with Psoriasis and Psoriatic Arthritis
- CDC. What is Psoriasis?
- National Psoriasis Foundation. About Psoriatic Arthritis
- Psoriasis and Psoriatic Arthritis: What’s the Connection?
- Lack of Diversity in Clinical Trials of Psoriatic Arthritis
- Promoting Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion for Psoriatic Diseases