There are several myths surrounding psoriatic arthritis and its causes. Understanding the condition is the first step in separating fact from fiction.
General Arthritis Myths
One of the most general myths surrounding all types of arthritis is that cracking your knuckles will cause arthritis. Most researchers have chalked this up as an old wives' tale, but cracking your knuckles is not harmless, according to some experts. It may not cause arthritis, but may lead to reduced hand strength and swollen hands.
Poor diet and cold, damp weather are both thought to be causes of arthritis as well. This is also a myth. Psoriatic arthritis may affect people of all ages, although the condition appears most often in adults ages 30 to 50.
Psoriatic Arthritis Myths
Neither psoriatic arthritis nor psoriasis is contagious. You cannot catch the disease by touching a person with the disease or by touching the lesions associated with psoriasis. Genetic predisposition may leave some individuals at greater risk of developing psoriatic arthritis. Those who have a family member with the disease are more likely to develop the disease themselves.
The greatest risk factor associated with psoriatic arthritis is psoriasis. Those with lesions on their nails are at even greater risk of psoriatic arthritis.
I Thought Psoriasis Was a Skin Disease?
It's true that psoriasis affects the skin. The red lesions with silvery scales are the most noticeable symptom of the disease, but psoriasis and arthritis are both autoimmune problems that occur when the immune system attacks healthy tissue in the body. This malfunction leads to inflammation in the joints and the overproduction of skin cells that lead to the buildup of dead skin cells on the surface of the skin.
Does Exercising and Living Healthy Work?
Exercising, eating right and maintaining a healthy weight have shown to improve the symptoms of psoriatic arthritis and other forms of arthritis. Before adopting any exercise program or diet, however, patients are encouraged to consult a physician. Over-exerting oneself may have negative consequences that may actually worsen symptoms.
If you have heard other myths about psoriatic arthritis that you would like confirmed or denied, consult an experienced physician in the field.