Do you have the early signs of psoriatic arthritis? Have you been recently diagnosed?
You are truly UNIQUE! You are unique because only 30% of the 7.5 million people in the US who suffer from psoriasis will develop psoriatic arthritis in their lifetime. There are about 2 million of us who have been diagnosed and no doubt why we are NOT at the top of the medial research chain to find a cure.
Psoriatic flare ups come in many different variations and none of us experience the same symptoms. I know for me, it seems like each flare is different every single time with varying degrees of symptoms that change like the wind. The early signs of psoriatic arthritis flare are sometimes mild and can become worse over time.
Let’s recap the symptoms in a psoriatic arthritis flare…
- Joint pain in one or multiple joints
- Fatigue is varying degrees
- Brain Fog
- Inflammation and swelling in the joints
- Heat and cold intolerance
- Joint stiffness
- Digit swelling in fingers or toes
- Constipation or Diarrhea
- Psoriasis skin lesions worsening
Every single flare is different with a mix of symptom and why every single one of us are extremely unique and difficult to treat.
It’s like the famous Forrest Gump quote, “It’s like a box of chocolates.” “You never know what you are going to get!”
What about the emotional symptoms?
Psoriatic patients experience the physical symptoms in varying degrees, however there are others that are difficult to express or explain in a way that others understand.
You know the ones. Emotional symptoms.
Flares sometimes have a few symptoms and other times they hit you like being struck by an asteroid. No matter the degree of the flare, the emotional impact always accompanies the flare. I guess we could wrap these up in a tight bow and call it depression and anxiety. For me, it goes way beyond that and these are things that people like us can only understand.
It truly impacts all aspects of your life!
How can anyone really understand the intensity? The physical aspect is hard enough, yet the overwhelming emotions we experience complicate things even further because we don’t have the energy and strength to perform simple tasks such as grooming and household chores and other simple tasks that are difficult to perform can push us into an emotional spiral making us feel all of these things. As as result, family, friends and co-workers may view us as lazy or unmotivated. It is a constant roller coaster ride of emotion which puts added stress on us which intensifies the flare.
Have you ever been in a flare and tried to vacuum your house? Vacuuming puts me down for a few days and I have learned to pick my battles.
Building Awareness and Educating
How do we bring our uniqueness to light in a positive way?
First, we must talk about it and continue to build awareness of psoriatic disease. Suppressing our feelings and emotions will only cause us additional anxiety and depression. Second, we need to understand that depriving those around us by not sharing those emotions will only facilitate their continued frustration of not understanding our unique disease.
Just remember you are not alone and the more community we create and come together as a united front the more strides we will make in finding a cure and a better understanding of our uniqueness. To learn more about psoriatic arthritis and how to manage your symptoms please visit the National Psoriatic Foundation.
Let’s start here by sharing your thoughts and feelings in the comments below.