pSo Facts

Swollen joints? Back pain? No, those aren’t just signs of “old age”. You might have these symptoms if you have psoriatic arthritis (PsA), which occurs when your body’s immune system attacks healthy cells. Talk about a stab in the back! Because it can feel like a doozy of a diagnosis, check out these fast facts to learn more about PsA and how to handle it on the regular.

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Psoriasis (PsO for short) is a chronic (long-term) inflammatory condition that usually starts in adulthood. If you have psoriasis, you’re in the company of one million Canadians who share this condition.

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  • You are not alone – psoriasis affects a million Canadians and more than 125 million worldwide.
  • Research shows psoriasis prevalence varies among different ethnic groups.
  • In Canada, the prevalence of psoriasis is estimated at approximately 2.8%.
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Psoriasis is an autoimmune disease. Researchers believe that a combination of genetic and environmental factors will trigger the body’s immune system.

A type of white blood cell, called a T-cell that usually fights off bacteria, attacks healthy cells by mistake. The immune system also produces proteins called cytokines, which normally have a role in fighting infection. Tumor Necrosis Factor Alpha (TNF-a), Interleukin 12/23 (1L12 + 1L23) and Interleukin 17A all play a part.

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The physical symptoms of psoriasis can include: itching; a painful or burning sensation as flare-ups cause inflammation; flaking; scales; and sometimes cracking and bleeding. Psoriasis is even known to cause joint pain.

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What kinds of things could trigger a psoriasis flare-up?

Psoriasis tends to comes in waves, subsiding for a while until it is aggravated causing an outbreak of psoriasis patches or plaques - this is known as a flare-up. Flare-ups can be unpredictable, and triggers are not the same for everyone. Some commonly reported triggers include:

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Psoriasis is an autoimmune disease where the body’s immune system produces inflammation that damages healthy tissue. The systemic inflammation in psoriasis generates elevated levels of proteins, which causes comorbidities such as psoriatic arthritis, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, depression, obesity, metabolic syndrome and other immune-related conditions like Crohn’s disease and lymphoma.

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Although there is no cure for psoriasis, treatments can help reduce the symptoms and clear your skin. There are several types of psoriasis treatments. Your treatment choice will depend on your individual needs and how well you respond to a chosen therapy. Provided below is a topline overview of treatment options including both the benefits and risks:

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Ever wonder how severe your psoriasis is? The Psoriasis Area Severity Index, also known as PASI, is a tool that a healthcare professional can use to measure it for you.

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