How Serious Is Psoriatic Arthritis?

Ask a Doctor

I was just diagnosed with psoriatic arthritis. Am I going to have a significant disability? How serious is psoriatic arthritis?

Doctor's Response

Psoriatic arthritis tends to alternate between flare-ups and periods of improvement. It leads to joint damage and severe disability in many of the people it affects. Some people may need surgery.

The following factors influence how severe your psoriatic arthritis will be:

  • Clinical pattern (as in, what kind of symptoms you have and their severity)
  • Symptoms beginning when you are young
  • Severity of skin symptoms
  • Female sex
  • Family history of arthritis

Rarely, complications such as joint dislocations of the neck and leaking of the heart valves may develop.

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Klippel, J.H., et al. Primer on the Rheumatic Diseases. New York: Springer, 2008.