What causes PsA?

What causes PsA?

No one knows exactly what causes PsA (psoriatic arthritis) yet, but scientists are working to understand it and we now know more than ever before. Research suggests there may be a problem with the immune system, and your genetic make up may make this more likely to happen. A child with a parent with PsA has an increased chance of developing it, but getting an infection that triggers your immune system could also be to blame.

PsA can happen at any age, sometimes before, after or alongside psoriasis, but usually develops between 30 and 50, and certain factors related to your environment or lifestyle may cause symptoms to ‘flare up’, or your symptoms to get worse,4 like stress, not taking medication, skin damage, lack of sleep, infection or excess weight. Unfortunately having PsA can be stressful, and stress can cause flares, flares can cause stress, and so on, in a vicious circle.4 So at times you may think your PsA has disappeared, and then the symptoms come back.5

Bumps and bruises can trigger flares in some people6

There are different reasons why PsA flare-ups happen. Injury or illness, skipping medicine and living an unhealthy lifestyle can lead to a flare.5 While you can’t be cured of PsA, with the right strategy, your symptoms may be able to be reduced and kept under control. So if you have any concerns about the state of your symptoms, or your treatment, make sure you let your healthcare professional know, in case there’s another way to help you.


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National Institute for Clinical Excellence. Psychosis and schizophrenia in adults: prevention and management. 2014. CG178.
APA Clinical Guidelines. American Psychiatric Association. Practice Guidelines for the treatment of patients with schizophrenia. 2004.
Hasan et al. World J Biol Psychiatry 2012; 13: 318─378.