WICHITA FALLS (KFDX/KJTL) It’s itchy, unsightly and at times unbearable…It’s also affects nearly 7.5 million americans every year. One of those affected is local real estate agent, Leslie Yow.
Yow has managed her psoriasis for several years now . It wasn’t until three years ago that new symptoms created a cause for concern.
“I’ve always had the psoriasis patches, the scales and all that gross nonsense, but then it had a severe inflammation at one point in time where it was incredibly painful to walk or maneuver specifically to my left ankle and my neck,” says Yow.
Leslie’s soreness and itchy skin required more answers, so she checked in with united regional rheumatologist, Dr. Vanya Wagler. He says psoriatic arthritis is an inflammatory skin disease which affects the knees, elbows, and other areas of the skin’s surface. In some patients that have psoriasis skin disease they develop inflammation in their joints.
“Leslie came to us with an established diagnosis of psoriasis skin disease,” says Dr. Wagler. “I think the joint disease was less clear, but as we saw she was having swelling, she was having inflammatory joint symptoms it became clear there was definitely an inflammatory arthritis going on…”
Symptoms of PsA are:
- Painful, swollen joints
- Tendon or ligament pain
- Skin rashes or nail changes
- Eye irritation
- Flare Ups
The plaques created by this inflammation are not only irritating…they’re noticeable, as Leslie soon found out.
“Biggest one was always right here on my knee, where there was a constant large patch and it was really embarrassing to wear dresses or shorts because then people would ask me ‘what’s wrong with your knee, you know, what happened? Did you fall?’ No, it was always just this really big, ugly, red, inflamed sore.”
An even more troubling sign appeared, as Leslie noticed her daughter was showing the same symptoms of psoriasis.
“So we do think that there’s an increased risk that’s conferred from your family members,” says Dr. Wagler. “It’s not directly inherited like some disease like muscular dystrophy but there’s certainly an increased risk if you have a first degree relative who has this condition.”
Unfortunately for Leslie and others with this disorder, there is no cure for psoriatic arthritis. There are, however, treatments like topical ointments and injections to reduce the plaques. As far as the arthritis goes, Dr. Wagler says they have a solution to that as well.
“Sometimes anti-inflammatories will be a good place to start. In other cases, we need a stronger treatment to treat both things and we can use medications what we call disease modifying agents or DMARDS, we can effectively treat the arthritis and also the skin disease with those. “
With the help of these medications, Leslie was on a fast road to recovery.
“It’s been very helpful and it keeps the aches at bay, and as a matter of fact for the first time ever I have no psoriasis patches!”
If you’d like to set up an appointment with Dr. Wagler at the URPG clinic, click here.