Managing Your Psoriatic Arthritis

What Is Psoriatic Arthritis?

Psoriatic arthritis (PsA) is a chronic autoimmune disease that causes inflammation, which leads to:

  • swelling, pain, and tenderness in the joints
  • a reduced range of motion
  • swollen fingers and toes
  • fingernails and toenails that separate from the nail bed
  • eye pain and redness

Typically, psoriatic arthritis affects people who already have the skin symptoms of psoriasis.

The exact causes of psoriatic arthritis are unknown, but the condition is thought to develop from a combination of genetic and environmental factors. Ultimately, there is no one definitive test for this condition. Your rheumatologist may perform a series of tests, including a physical exam, blood tests, x-rays, and/or an MRI to diagnose psoriatic arthritis.

Psoriatic arthritis symptoms may appear similar to those of rheumatoid arthritis, though symptoms such as psoriasis and nail changes usually indicate psoriatic arthritis.

  • Approximately 1.5 million people have psoriatic arthritis in the US
  • 1 in 3 people with psoriasis will go on to develop psoriatic arthritis
  • 85% of people with psoriatic arthritis had psoriasis first
  • Age 30-50 is often when psoriatic arthritis first appears, although it can start at any age
  • 10 years after psoriasis begins is when psoriatic arthritis starts for most people
  • Even a 6-month delay in treatment can result in permanent joint damage

Not All Psoriatic Arthritis Symptoms Are Physical


One in three people with psoriasis will go on to develop psoriatic arthritis. Managing the emotional impact can feel like being on a roller coaster. You may cycle through flare-ups and periods of remission from the physical pain and limitations of arthritis, like the inability to walk short distances, in addition to the isolating effects of psoriasis. Talking to your rheumatologist can help you take control of your condition.

To help manage your psoriatic arthritis diagnosis, download our Doctor Discussion Guide to help you with the next conversation with your rheumatologist. Through open conversation with your doctor about how symptoms are affecting you physically and emotionally, together you can decide the best treatment option for you.

When I was first diagnosed, it was very difficult to think, ‘How am I going to manage these young kids and continue to do the things that I want to do for them when I’m going to have these health issues?’

- Lisa, CIMZIA patientIndividual results may vary.

Common Psoriatic Arthritis Triggers

While the cause of psoriatic arthritis is unknown, it is thought that genetics can play a role, as do immune system issues and specific external factors, or “triggers,” for flare-ups.

Triggers are not the same for everyone, but may include:

  • Stress
  • Alcohol
  • Smoking
  • Injury to skin
  • Certain medications (including lithium and antimalarials)
  • Cold and dry weather

How To Treat Psoriatic Arthritis


Early recognition, diagnosis, and treatment with psoriatic arthritis medication are critical to relieve pain and inflammation and help prevent joint damage.

Studies show that delaying treatment for psoriatic arthritis for as little as 6 months can result in permanent joint damage.

While the progression of psoriatic arthritis varies from person to person, symptoms can suddenly flare and then go into remission for extended periods or can remain active for many years at a time. That’s why it’s so important to talk to your rheumatologist to fully understand the complexities of psoriatic arthritis, especially when combined with psoriasis.

CIMZIA (certolizumab pegol), as a biologic for psoriatic arthritis, works inside the body, and may help people achieve results whether or not they’ve been on a previous biologic treatment. Ask your rheumatologist how CIMZIA may work for you.

Manage Your Psoriatic Arthritis With Confidence

By keeping track of your symptoms, writing down any questions you have, and being open with your rheumatologist about what you’re experiencing, you can find the treatment that’s most appropriate for you, even if you’ve been on other psoriatic arthritis medication before. To ensure a productive conversation at your next appointment, download our Doctor Discussion Guide.

CIMZIA gives me more hope. There are times I forget I have arthritis, and that’s a good feeling.

- Lisa, CIMZIA patientIndividual results may vary.

Resources For Support

CIMplicity® is a free program that provides support at each step of your experience when treating your psoriatic arthritis and/or plaque psoriasis with CIMZIA (certolizumab pegol). For more details, enroll now.*

The American College of Rheumatology works to advance rheumatology treatment through programs to improve care for people with rheumatic and musculoskeletal diseases and arthritis.

Working to advance the treatment of more than 100 types of arthritis and related conditions, the Arthritis Foundation also has a helpline available at 1-844-571-HELP.

The National Psoriasis Foundation is dedicated to finding a cure for psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis and to eliminating their devastating effects through research, advocacy, and education. For more information, call 1-800-723-9166.

*The CIMplicity program is provided as a service of UCB and is intended to support the appropriate use of CIMZIA. The CIMplicity program may be amended or canceled at any time without notice. Some program and eligibility restrictions may apply.


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