During an emotional episode of ‘KUWTK,’ Kim Kardashian learned that her mystery illness wasn’t lupus, but was, in fact, psoriatic arthritis. Here’s what you need to know about Kim’s affliction.
Kim Kardashian, 38, let out a massive sigh of relief during the Sept. 15 episode of Keeping Up with the Kardashians after her doctor told her that she didn’t have lupus. “First of all, if you have any evidence for lupus, we would have screened it,” Kim’s doctor said. “You probably have psoriatic arthritis because psoriasis comes and goes. There’s nothing there right now.” Kim — who spoke about how she was handling the pain in her joints in interviews leading up to the KUWTK reveal – was relieved by the diagnosis. “The pain is going to come and go sometimes, but I can manage it, and this isn’t going to stop me,” she said on the episode. So, what is psoriatic arthritis?
1. Psoriatic arthritis is precisely what its name says it is. Really, psoriatic arthritis is a form of arthritis that affects some people with psoriasis. It occurs when a person’s immune system begins to attack healthy cells and tissue, according to the Mayo Clinic. The abnormal immune response causes inflammation in the joints, as well as the overproduction of skin cells. It’s unclear why the immune system suddenly goes haywire and attacks healthy tissue, but the Mayo Clinic notes “both genetic and environmental factors play a role. Many people with psoriatic arthritis have a family history of either psoriasis or psoriatic arthritis. Researchers have discovered certain genetic markers that appear to be associated with psoriatic arthritis.”
2. The symptoms are painful. Psoriatic arthritis can affect joints on just one side or on both sides of a person’s body. The symptoms of psoriatic arthritis resemble those of rheumatoid arthritis, which causes joints to become painful, swollen, and warm to the touch. Psoriatic arthritis also makes causes fingers and toes to get swollen, foot pain, and lower back pain. Fatigue, nail changes, and redness/pain in the eye are also common symptoms.
3. It usually affects people between the ages of 30 and 50. For most people, psoriatic arthritis begins 10 years after they’re diagnosed with psoriasis, according to the National Psoriasis Foundation. It can happen to people of any age, but it often appears when someone is between ages 30 and 50. Nearly 300,000 children in the United States are affected by some form of pediatric arthritis, including psoriatic arthritis.
4. There is no cure. Unfortunately, there’s no magic pill that Kim can take to immediately cure her of psoriatic arthritis. However, despite this, she seems determined to not let this affliction stop her from living her best life.
5. There are plenty of treatments. Thanks to advancements in medical science, there is a wide range of treatments for psoriatic arthritis. There are oral medications that reduce inflammation and swelling to biologic drugs that are injected and infused. These injections target specific parts of the immune system and meant to combat arthritis symptoms and slow join damage. It’s essential to see a rheumatologist and determine the exact plan of attack. Left untreated, psoriatic arthritis can cause permanent joint damage.