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Psoriatic Arthritis: Prognosis, Life Expectancy, and Quality of Life

Medically reviewed by Nancy Carteron, MD, FACR on February 15, 2017Written by Robin Madell

The big questions

If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with psoriatic arthritis (PsA), you’re likely wondering how this condition will impact your life, both now and in the future.

What’s the outlook for people with PsA? Can it affect your life expectancy? How does it influence your quality of life?

Keep reading to find out more.

Prognosis for psoriatic arthritis

PsA can be a serious chronic inflammatory condition that can cause significant pain and disability. However, you can manage your condition through medications and lifestyle changes.

In most cases, the joint pain and inflammation caused by PsA respond well to treatment and rarely cause severe deformities.

Life expectancy: What you need to know

While there’s no known cure for PsA, there are medications that can treat the associated symptoms. PsA is not life-threatening.

Some research suggests that people with PsA have a slightly shorter life expectancy than the general population. This is similar to other autoimmune diseases like rheumatoid arthritis. Those with PsA also face a 60 percent greater mortality risk, mainly due to increased cardiovascular disease.

If you have severe PsA, talk to your doctor about taking a stronger medication or using a combination of drugs to ease your symptoms and to prevent chronic inflammation.

How psoriatic arthritis hurts quality of life

PsA causes many challenging symptoms that can greatly affect your quality of life. The symptoms can include:

  • joint pain
  • inflammation
  • stiffness
  • tiredness
  • decreased range of motion

Symptoms can make it tough to complete everyday activities, such as opening doors or lifting grocery bags. Not being able to do these tasks can trigger emotional distress.

Quality of life research

It’s no secret that PsA is debilitating: In a review published in Pharmacy and Therapeutics, researchers looked at 49 studies to compare quality-of-life outcomes for people with PsA to the general population.

Those with the condition experienced a “lower health-related quality of life.” They also experienced decreased physical function and an increased risk of mortality.

Dual effects

Other research found that patients with both psoriasis and PsA may have more difficulty functioning than those with psoriasis alone.

The review showed that people who have psoriasis experience a significantly lower quality of life than those who have other chronic conditions. Adding joint pain and stiffness to the mix can cause an even greater impact on daily activities.

Decreased well-being

There are a number of ways that PsA can compromise your quality of life. You may experience psychological effects because of the condition and remove yourself from social situations.

Researchers recorded other negative aspects of the condition, such as impairment of daily activities and unhappiness about the way that their condition is treated.

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