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6 Psoriatic Arthritis Symptoms You Shouldn’t Ignore

 Diana  Rodriguez
  • Warning Signs and Complications of Psoriatic Arthritis

    The inflammation that causes joint problems in psoriatic arthritis can also wreak havoc on the rest of your body, which may come as a surprise to many people living with the condition. Psoriatic arthritis complications can involve your heart, eyes, digestive tract, and even your emotional health. Without treatment, joint pain and stiffness can progress, along with other serious health issues, says Samardeep Gupta, MBBS, a rheumatologist and associate professor in medicine at the University of Michigan Medical School in Ann Arbor. 

    Protect your health by learning how to recognize these warning signs of psoriatic arthritis complications. Early detection and treatment can help reduce their severity.

  • Changes in Vision or Other Eye Issues

    Any pain, redness, blurry vision, or sensitivity to light can be a major red flag. These are symptoms of uveitis, an eye condition caused by inflammation that affects about 7 percent of people with psoriatic arthritis, according to the National Psoriasis Foundation (NPF). It occurs when the internal structures of the eye become inflamed, Dr. Gupta says, and may result in loss of vision. Psoriatic arthritis can also increase your chance of developing cataracts and glaucoma, both of which can cause blurry vision and, in the case of glaucoma, could lead to permanent vision loss. Don’t wait for a problem to appear. Schedule regular eye exams to help preserve vision and identify any issues as soon as possible.

  • Fatigue

    Up to 57 percent of people with an inflammatory rheumatic disease like psoriatic arthritis experience severe fatigue, according to a study published in the August 2015 issue of Clinical Rheumatology. “Psoriatic arthritis is a systemic inflammatory condition,” Gupta says. “When left untreated, it can result in fatigue and a general feeling of sickness. It can also result in anemia due to prolonged inflammation.” Unchecked fatigue can worsen your pain and vice versa, so talk to your doctor about adding pain management and sleep strategies to your psoriatic arthritis treatment plan.

  • Chest Pain and Sudden Weakness

    People with psoriatic arthritis are at a 43 percent greater risk for stroke and a 58 percent greater risk for a serious cardiovascular problem, such as a heart attack, according to the NPF. Know the warning signs of a heart attack, which include discomfort or pain in the chest, extreme fatigue, shortness of breath, or pain in the upper body, according to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. Stroke warning signs include slackness on one side of the face, arm weakness (usually just on one side), and difficulty speaking, the National Stroke Association notes.

  • Sadness You Can't Shake

    Persistent sadness or hopelessness, withdrawing from your circle of friends, and loss of interest in activities you once enjoyed are potential symptoms of depression. "Signs of depression are common in people with psoriatic arthritis due to social withdrawal due to skin lesions and inability to do the tasks they were previously able to do," Gupta says. He notes, however, that the severity of the disease isn't necessarily related to your risk of developing depression or another mental health issue. But, if your psoriatic arthritis is well controlled, it may help symptoms of depression, according to the NPF. If you’re experiencing symptoms of depression, talk to your doctor. Treatment is available.

  • Digestive Problems

    Symptoms such as abdominal pain and cramping, blood in your stool, and diarrhea could signal an inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). People with both psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis are at risk for developing Crohn's, in particular, according to a study published in the July 2013 issue of Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases. This is likely because the mutations in the genes of people with both psoriatic arthritis and Crohn's disease are similar, the NPF says. So if you struggle with digestive issues, visit your doctor for an evaluation.

  • Weight Gain and Changes in Appetite and Thirst

    Psoriatic arthritis increases your risk for metabolic syndrome and for type 2 diabetes, according to the NPF. Metabolic syndrome is a collection of conditions that include high blood pressure, heart disease, and belly fat, and the more severe your psoriatic arthritis, the greater your risk for metabolic syndrome. Get your blood pressure checked regularly and work with your doctor to lose weight, especially if you're carrying extra pounds around your middle. Also, see your doctor right away if you experience telltale signs of type 2 diabetes, such as feeling constantly hungry or thirsty or very fatigued.

  • Last Updated: 02/04/16