Living with Psoriatic Arthritis
Psoriatic arthritis (PsA) is an autoimmune disease - a form of arthritis that can cause pain, swelling and sometimes damage to any joint in the body. It is a condition that strikes in two ways, requiring extra care and attention. It usually occurs in people who already have psoriasis.
About one in 50 people have psoriasis and about one in 14 of them will develop PsA, so having psoriasis does not automatically mean you will have PsA. In fact most people with psoriais will 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 months. In rare instances, PsA can develop quickly and can be quite severe. Generally it looks very different from person to person.
Rónán Dervan from Loughrea in Co. Galway was 29 when he started to notice that there was something wrong with his body. At first he thought that the pain and discomfort he was experiencing was from sport, but when he stopped playing, the pain got worse.
When he got a diagnosis, it was of psoriatic arthritis; a condition he hadn't heard of. With his diagnosis and the realisation that he had it in his spine, feet, hips, ribs and shoulders, he started to receive treatment.
Nearly three years on, Rónán says that he is in a much better place. In summer 2018, together with a group of friends, he kayaked the full 280km of the River Shannon in a fundraiser for Arthritis Ireland.
The main things for Rónán in living with his condition are to stay fit and to keep his diet right.
His main advice though is that if you have concerns about your health to consult with your healthcare professionals. Once you get a diagnosis, he says, everything becomes a lot easier from there.
Supported by an educational grant provided by Novartis Ireland Ltd