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Neurological complications of psoriatic arthritis

Dr Karen Martin
Reviewed by Dr Karen MartinReviewed on 19.10.2023 | 4 minutes read

Living with psoriatic arthritis is tough. It's not just joint pain – it can affect many parts of your life. How it can affect your nervous system is often not talked about as much. This adds even more complexity to an already tricky disease. For people dealing with psoriatic arthritis, the idea of having neurological problems can be worrying. However, understanding these issues is important for managing the condition well.

Understanding neurological complications linked to psoriatic arthritis

Psoriatic arthritis can show up in many different ways, and one of the less common but important ways is with neurological complications. These can vary a lot in how serious they are and how they manifest. Here are some of the neurological problems that might be connected to psoriatic arthritis:

  • Neuropathic Pain: This is when the nerves get damaged, causing burning, tingling, or shooting pains. Psoriatic arthritis-related inflammation might hurt the nerves, leading to this kind of pain.
  • Seizures: Though rare, some people with psoriatic arthritis might have seizures. We're not sure exactly why this happens, but it might have something to do with inflammation and how the immune system works.
  • Migraines: People with psoriatic arthritis are more likely to get migraines, which are very painful headaches. They can come with nausea, vomiting, and sensitivity to light and sound. Inflammation from psoriatic arthritis might make migraines worse or more likely.
  • Parkinson’s Disease: We're still figuring out if there's a link between psoriatic arthritis and Parkinson's disease. But some research suggests there might be. Both conditions involve inflammation that can interfere with how the nervous system works.
  • Schizophrenia: It's rare, but some folks with psoriatic arthritis also have schizophrenia. We're not sure why, but it might have to do with shared genes or how the immune system works.
  • Stroke: Psoriatic arthritis might make you more likely to have a stroke, which is when blood flow to your brain gets cut off suddenly. It's a serious medical emergency and can cause brain damage. Inflammation and heart problems linked to psoriatic arthritis might make strokes more likely.

Understanding these possible neurological problems is important so you can spot them early, get help fast, and manage them well.

Impact of psoriatic arthritis inflammation on the brain

Psoriatic arthritis is all about inflammation – it's when your immune system attacks healthy parts of your body, like joints and skin. But that inflammation doesn't just stop there. It can interfere with your brain too, and understanding how is key to knowing why you might have neurological issues with psoriatic arthritis.

Psoriatic arthritis inflammation can impact your brain in a few different ways:

  • Inflammatory Cascade: The constant inflammation from psoriatic arthritis can disrupt how your brain works. This can lead to lots of different symptoms and problems.
  • Neuroinflammation: Psoriatic arthritis inflammation can go right to your brain and cause more inflammation there. This can interfere with how your brain's cells work and cause damage.
  • Blood-Brain Barrier Dysfunction: The inflammation from psoriatic arthritis can make it easier for harmful substances to get into your brain. This can make the inflammation there worse and cause more problems.
  • Neurodegenerative Processes: The long-term inflammation from psoriatic arthritis can impact how your brain works and cause your brain cells to die. This can lead to things like memory problems, trouble moving, and other neurological symptoms.

Reducing the risk for neurological symptoms

Even though inflammation from psoriatic arthritis can make you more likely to have neurological problems, there are things you can do to lower that risk:

  • Taking Disease Modifying Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (DMARDs): These drugs help control inflammation and can protect your brain, too.
  • Making Lifestyle Changes: Eating well, moving your body, managing stress, and getting enough sleep can all help lower inflammation and keep your brain healthy.
  • Getting Regular Checkups: Seeing your doctor often can help catch any problems early and get you help fast.

By taking care of inflammation and looking out for your brain, you can lower your chances of having neurological issues and stay as healthy as possible while managing psoriatic arthritis.

Managing neurological effects of psoriatic arthritis

Dealing with neurological problems from psoriatic arthritis means using different treatments to deal with inflammation and any specific symptoms you have. Here's what that might look like:

  • Managing Neuropathic Pain: Taking drugs and doing therapy exercises can help with nerve pain.
  • Controlling Seizures: Taking antiepileptic drugs and sometimes having surgery can help stop seizures.
  • Treating Migraines: Taking drugs when a migraine starts and sometimes taking other drugs every day to stop them from happening can help.
  • Dealing with Parkinson’s Disease: Taking levodopa and doing therapy exercises can help with symptoms like shaking and trouble moving.
  • Treating Schizophrenia: Taking antipsychotic drugs and sometimes doing therapy can help with symptoms like hearing voices or having strange thoughts.
  • Recovering from Stroke: Getting specialized care right away and doing therapy exercises can help you recover from a stroke.

In conclusion, dealing with neurological problems from psoriatic arthritis means using lots of different treatments to deal with inflammation and any specific symptoms you have. By working with your healthcare team and taking care of yourself, you can keep your brain as healthy as possible while managing psoriatic arthritis.

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This article has been written by UK-based doctors and pharmacists, so some advice may not apply to US users and some suggested treatments may not be available. For more information, please see our T&Cs.
Dr Karen Martin
Reviewed by Dr Karen Martin
Reviewed on 19.10.2023
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