Progression of psoriatic arthritis

September 13, 2010

Question: I don’t have insurance. What could potentially happen if I don’t treat my psoriatic arthritis?

Answer: Psoriatic arthritis can range from mild, affecting only one or two joints in a minimal fashion, to a severe, destructive and crippling form, involving a large number of joints. The mild forms do not progress and can be treated with mild medications, which are intended to control the symptoms of pain, swelling, stiffness and decreased motion. For people whose disease is progressive, involves many joints, interferes with function and causes deformity, more aggressive treatment is needed to prevent these complications. The best way to avoid such outcomes is to seek appropriate diagnosis and treatment as soon as possible.

Although medications and laboratory tests can be quite expensive, there are many programs available for patients that provide free or discounted medications. This even includes the most expensive medications, which otherwise could cost more than $1000 per month. In many communities there are clinics that provide office visits, testing, and treatment at no cost or at costs proportionate to your ability to pay. The lifetime costs of not seeking adequate care may far outweigh any initial costs.

Dr. Fohrman, a Bend, Ore., rheumatologist for 30 years, practices at Deschutes Rheumatology. He is originally from the Chicago area. He received his training in internal medicine at Albany Medical Center in New York and in rheumatology at the University of Utah.

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