Living with Psoriatic Arthritis Living with Psoriatic Arthritis

Living with
Psoriatic Arthritis

About Psoriatic Arthritis2

About 1 in 50 people have psoriasis and up to one-third of them may develop PsA (note that prevalence rates and figures vary considerably), so having psoriasis does not automatically mean you will have PsA. In fact, most people with psoriasis never develop it.

Although PsA generally occurs after psoriasis develops there are cases where the arthritis develops first. PsA usually begins slowly spreading to other joints over a period of a few weeks or even months. In rare instances PsA can develop quickly and can be quite severe. It is an unusual arthritis because it can look very different from person to person.

For more information on Psoriatic Arthritis, please see the resources section.

What should I tell my friends and family?3

When you have arthritis, it is not just the physical symptoms that affect you. You will also experience a range of different emotions, which may change over time. Having the same disease as someone else does not mean that you feel the same – either physically or emotionally. Just as everyone is different, so is their experience of arthritis; their symptoms are different and their feelings and emotions are different.3

One of the most difficult aspects of dealing with arthritis is often the effect that it can have on your relationships. One of the most successful ways of managing all of these relationships is to be open as possible about your condition and the impact it has on you and your quality of life.3

Some of the most important relationships in your life is covered in a booklet by Arthritis Ireland include:

  • You and your doctor
  • Partner/spouse
  • Children
  • Friends
  • Parents
  • Colleagues

Should I tell my employer about my arthritis?4 - +

There is no ‘one size fits all’ answer: you will need to make a judgement about if and when to tell your employer. Your decision will, of course, be influenced by the type of work you do and whether, or how much, your condition affects your ability to do the job.

It may not affect your work at all – other than time off for hospital appointments – but hiding it and struggling on if you have difficulties, could make your arthritis worse. Employers are generally supportive once they know you want to remain a productive worker and remain an employee with them.

However, you do have a duty to tell an employer about a health condition if it might present a health and safety risk to yourself or other work colleagues or may affect your ability to carry out the work.

Further information on disclosure while working or applying for a job is available in the following booklet

What Should I tell people at work?4 - +

Work is good for your health. As well as improving your financial security, employment can boost your health and happiness. It is a vital part of modern life; it provides you with income and can be a valuable source of purpose and meaning. Work can be therapeutic and can reverse the adverse health effects of unemployment.

What can I do to manage my arthritis in the workplace?4 - +

Everyone copes with the effects of their arthritis in different ways. There are some practical things you can do yourself:

Practical tips

  • Be proactive. Find out as much as you can about your arthritis. The more you understand your condition, the more you will feel in control about the decisions you take.
  • Give information leaflets about your condition to your employer and ask them to read them.
  • Remember that your healthcare team is there to provide support. If your condition changes or you feel it is not well controlled, ask for help quickly. Do not just put up with it!
  • Ask your nurse or physiotherapist about different methods of pain control.
  • A physiotherapist can help with pain management and simple exercises, such as stretching and keeping mobile at work.
  • A podiatrist can help with problems with your feet or ankles. They can give advice and treatment to help reduce your pain. It can make all the difference at work to have comfortable feet.
  • Seek advice and support from an occupational therapist at an early stage. They can advise on a wide range of work issues. For example, they can assess if the work role is appropriate for you and can liaise with your employer to negotiate adjustments/changes if needed.
  • If your company has its own occupational health adviser, you may prefer to approach them first. Their role is to support the health of employees at work.

What are the most common symptoms experienced by people working with arthritis?4 - +

  • problems with mobility or functioning
  • early morning stiffness
  • pain
  • fatigue
  • poor concentration
  • reduced stamina
  • decreased agility

Some manual jobs may be more difficult to manage, particularly if they require heavy physical work, standing or lifting. It may be necessary to explore with your employer, whether it is feasible to consider other options such as changing your duties, having additional training, or seeking an alternative type of work.

What should I tell my healthcare professional?

Tell your healthcare professional if:1

  • If you experience side effects (this includes any possible side effects not listed)
  • If you experience any negative symptoms on Tremfya®, contact your healthcare professional immediately
  • If you are using, have recently used or might use any other medicines.
  • If you are being treated for an infection
  • If you have an infection that does not go away or that keeps coming back
  • If you have tuberculosis or have been in close contact with someone with tuberculosis
  • If you think you have an infection or have symptoms of an infection
  • If you have recently had a vaccination or if you are due to have a vaccination during treatment with Tremfya.

You may have questions about your condition or your treatment when talking to your healthcare professional; these could include:

  • Are there any support groups my local area?
  • Is there anyone I can talk to about my feelings about psoriasis?
  • Do I need to see a specialist?
  • Is there some other information (a leaflet or website) to help me understand my psoriasis? Is there any information designed for children?
  • Can you tell me why you have decided to offer me this particular type of treatment?
  • What are the risks and benefits of this treatment?
  • Are there any serious side effects associated with this treatment?
  • Is there any other treatment that I should not use while using this treatment?
  • If I am unwell should I stop this treatment?
  • What sort of improvements might I expect?
  • What should I do if I get any side effects? (Who should be my first point of contact, for example, should I call my GP, my Rheumatologists nurse specialist or go to the accident and emergency (A&E) department at a hospital?)