Managing Psoriatic Arthritis Symptoms
Managing Psoriatic Arthritis symptoms, it’s like playing darts. One of the biggest challenges of managing psoriatic symptoms is deciding which one to focus on next. It is like an endless game of throwing darts and never hitting the bullseye. You think you have one symptom managed and then a host of others appear. It is a never-ending game of chance that has a grave impact on our quality of life as well as our mental health.
Focusing On The Target
Which symptom do we target first or do we focus on the disease as a whole? With multiple symptoms to focus on this is one of the hardest questions to answer. Each one of them impacts quality of life in so many ways that it is difficult to know where to start. Obviously, it is critical that we start with managing the inflammation by working with our doctors to manage the progression of the disease. But, then what? Without a diverse team with focused skill sets working together we are just aimlessly running around throwing darts hoping that one of them will hit the bullseye. It’s a game that never ends and we are the ones that suffer the losses.
Finding The Right Team
Finding a practice with a team of doctors where each have a specialized skill set to treat specific symptoms of PSA is extremely difficult to find. If you live in a large city with major hospitals, you may be at an advantage of finding such a practice. However, for those of us that live in rural areas and smaller cities it is a career in managing your PSA because you are having to deal with so many Providers that are not interconnected in the same group or practice. They are not communicating and comparing notes to collaborate the best treatment path for the individual person. And, we are left to try to manage it ourselves in keeping all of them informed.
For example, in my case, I see a rheumatologist in one city and an orthopedic doctor in another city. The rheumatologist may decide to give me a cortisone shot to help manage an extremely bad flare. The following week I must see my orthopedic doctor because I have bursitis in my hip. He wants to inject my hip with yet another round of cortisone. It is up to me to keep up with how often I am receiving these shots and advise each one, so I am not given too much. What happens to a newly diagnosed PSA patient that is not aware that getting too many cortisone injections can impact your bone health over time. Scary, right?
Hitting The Bullseye
The strategy for managing PSA is not a one size fits all. No one person with psoriatic disease experiences the very same symptoms at the same time and why it is so difficult to manage and treat. Science and research for psoriatic disease has come a long way in the last fifteen years. We now have a variety of darts to throw at this disease and the symptoms. Whether it is biologics, DMARDs, diets or holistic approaches that we decide to use the fact remains the same that none of us end up with the same results.
The End Game
Are we winning or losing? With so many different treatment methods and varying outcomes, I guess it depends on who you are talking to. Truth is, we will never hit the target without a cure. If we are not talking about our psoriatic arthritis and bringing regular awareness, we will just keep throwing those darts in hopes that one of them will bring a breakthrough for the team. And, why it is so important that we continue to publicly promote, share and advocate about our symptoms and how they impact our quality of life. We need a cure for the WIN!
To learn more about the research that is being done to find a cure visit the National Psoriasis Foundation.