Dr. Melinda Gooderham
Medical Director, SKiN Centre for Dermatology
Patches of red, scaly, itchy skin. Pain in the joints and bone deformation. These are among the symptoms of psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis, a pair of linked autoimmune conditions, both incurable, which affect an estimated one million Canadians.
“The two conditions can either coexist or occur on their own,” says Dr. Melinda Gooderham, Medical Director at the SKiN Centre for Dermatology. “If you have psoriasis, there is a 30% chance of developing psoriatic arthritis within your lifetime and similarly, psoriatic arthritis can lead to the development of psoriasis.”
“When moderate disease has a serious negative impact on quality of life, that should be enough to put it in a severe category.”
Fortunately, safe and effective treatment options are advancing quickly. The problem is that not all those who could benefit from treatment are receiving it. Upwards of 80% of cases of psoriatic disease are currently classified as either mild or moderate, and the best treatments are too often reserved for the most severe cases.
New options, greater relief
Even moderate psoriatic disease can have an outsized impact on quality of life for those it affects. “The skin involvement of psoriasis can be very itchy, painful, and unsightly,” says Dr. Gooderham. “It can affect your sleep. It can affect your self-esteem and your relationships. Patients with psoriatic arthritis can find their ability to carry out everyday tasks impaired. They become unable to participate in the activities they enjoy and sometimes even end up on disability because they can no longer perform their jobs. These conditions impact every sphere of life.”
For those whose moderate disease has severe consequences, it has historically been difficult to get good treatment, but things are beginning to change. “Unfortunately, some patients do still fall through the cracks,” says Dr. Gooderham. “It has never made sense to me to let patients continue to suffer without treatment until the symptoms become truly life-altering. When moderate disease has a serious negative impact on quality of life, that should be enough to put it in a severe category.
Any condition that limits you from living your life to the fullest deserves to be treated, especially with safer options now available for patients. If you’re suffering from moderate psoriasis or psoriatic arthritis, speak with a health care provider about the latest treatments and visit Psoriasis Story to learn more.
This article was made possible with support from a Canadian pharmaceutical research company.