7 Psoriatic Arthritis Signs You Thought Were Something Else

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I think you’ll agree with me when I say:

Recognizing psoriatic arthritis signs is easy.

Or is it?

It turns out they’re not all so obvious because many aren’t visible from the outside! In fact, you probably thought these symptoms were signs of something completely different or brushed them aside as normal discomfort.

But by checking for these seven common signs of psoriatic arthritis, you can get a jump on the disease to prevent further damage to your body and health.

Let’s take a look!


We start the list with fatigue, as this symptom often gets attributed to other causes. It’s an underestimated sign of psoriasis and effects around 50% of patients, according to a study by the British Association of Dermatologists.  Furthermore, 25% of patients reported their fatigue as ‘severe’. It’s important to consider both the physical and mental aspects of fatigue.  Look out for both as potential signs of psoriatic arthritis if they combine with any of the following symptoms.

Issues with Eyesight

If you notice changes in your vision, like blurriness or sensitivity to light, these might be symptoms of uveitis. Uveitis often occurs along with or as a result of inflammatory diseases elsewhere in your body, like psoriatic arthritis.  This disease affects your vision and can even destroy eye tissue, and scientists found patients with mild or severe psoriasis have an increased risk of having it!  If you feel pain or notice redness in your eyes, or if you were diagnosed with psoriatic arthritis, make sure to schedule trips to an ophthalmologist to track the symptoms.

Mood Changes: Depression

Studies show patients with psoriasis have an increased risk of depression anxiety and suicidality.  This is because the reduced quality of life caused by the pain and soreness combined with withdrawal from social circles due to visible sores and lesions on the body and an inability to participate in favorite activities results in a depressed state.  It’s often not thought of by others as a symptom, but if you feel yourself lacking enjoyment in your hobbies, dealing with feelings of hopelessness, or unable to avoid thoughts of suicide, please inform your doctor. This is a common symptom that goes along with psoriatic arthritis, and patients and their families must recognize the correlation between the two.

Changes in Appetite and Weight

A Danish study was just one of many that found psoriatic arthritis correlates with increased rates of new-onset type 2 diabetes. Symptoms of type 2 diabetes include abnormal periods of hunger and thirst. Visit your doctor if you notice these signs, especially if you are already worried about weight issues. These visits can help prevent increased cardiovascular morbidity and mortality accompanying diabetes mellitus (DM).  

Chest Pain

Speaking of cardiovascular morbidity and chest pain, researchers found ‘a potentially debilitating comorbidity’ between stroke and severe psoriasis exists.  In fact, those with severe psoriatic arthritis have a 44% greater chance of having a stroke! Diabetes, hypertension, and smoking are all risk factors for strokes and for cardiovascular diseases, so you can see the interconnectedness of numbers 4 and 5 on our list.  Signs of a hard attack include pain in the left arm and chest, abnormal heartbeat, and anxiety. Paralysis of one side of the body, difficulty walking or talking, and numbness are signs of stroke.  Your doctor can perform a complete analysis of your health, including any potential increased risks due to comorbidity.

Digestive Issues

Here comes another instance of comorbidity and increased risk for psoriatic arthritis patients: a study published by the British Association of Dermatologists found not only an increased risk of Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis in patients with psoriasis, but an increased risk of psoriasis in patients with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). Symptoms include blood in stool, abdominal cramping, a constant feeling as if you ‘have to go to the toilet’, and gastrointestinal discomfort or pain.  You’ll want to mention these to your doctor if you notice them, as they might be signs of psoriatic arthritis.

Brittle or Deformed Fingernails and Toenails

If you notice pits forming in your fingernails or toenails, or if they become a strange yellow or brown color, they may be signs of psoriatic arthritis.  This is because up to 80% of psoriatic arthritis patients have nail lesions and nail problems! These signs are specific to psoriatic arthritis, so they’re a good symptom to use by doctors when attempting to diagnose the issue.  Besides topical treatments and biological agents, a green lipped mussel supplement can also help you improve the health of your skin, hair and nails


Psoriatic Arthritis Treatment

Now that we’ve pointed out some of the common psoriatic arthritis signs you thought were symptoms of other illnesses (or typical discomfort!), let’s get on to the solutions:

First, take a trip to your physician if you notice any of the signs above.

The next best thing you can do on your own is to change your diet.

Add in some foods high in Omega 3 fatty acids and Vitamin E.

We’ve got a free list of the best foods you can download and print to take to the store with you!

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