October 25, 2022

SWHR Toolkit for Women Living with Psoriatic Arthritis Centers Lifelong Care

By Monica Lefton, SWHR Communications Manager.  

When the body’s immune system cannot tell the difference between foreign material and its own cells, the immune response may lead to the development of an immune-mediated inflammatory disease (IMID) or autoimmune disease. More common in women than in men (4 out of 5 people diagnosed with an autoimmune disease are women), IMIDs and autoimmune diseases can cause inflammation and internal damage to almost any part of the body; autoimmune diseases are a subset of IMIDs in which the antibody attacking healthy tissue has been identified.  

IMIDs can be challenging to diagnose because symptoms may seem unrelated or mimic other conditions. They can also be difficult to treat, especially if the cause of the disease or its care options are not fully understood or remain understudied, as many are. Psoriatic arthritis (PsA) is an IMID that causes inflammation in the joints, resulting in stiffness and pain. While PsA occurs equally in women and men, women report more severe symptoms of fatigue, widespread pain, more trouble finding effective treatment, and greater difficulty completing certain tasks, which can all ultimately impede daily well-being.  

To raise awareness about PsA’s burden on women and support women living with PsA, the Society for Women’s Health Research (SWHR) created the Psoriatic Arthritis Toolkit: A Woman’s Empowerment Guide. The toolkit features information about PsA symptoms, selecting and managing PsA treatment options, and promoting everyday wellness while living with PsA, with sections including: 

  1. Understanding Psoriatic Arthritis 
  2. Managing Your Psoriatic Arthritis Care
  3. Living Well with Psoriatic Arthritis
  4. Resources for Women Living with Psoriatic Arthritis

Download The Psoriatic Arthritis Toolkit

Unique to this toolkit is the “Doctor’s Visit Worksheet for Psoriatic Arthritis,” which, along with the management section, offers a guide for identifying symptoms and having a conversation with your care provider. PsA is a chronic condition that requires lifelong management and as well as a strong partnership between you and your health care team. While it may be overwhelming at first to understand that there is no cure for PsA, finding the right balance of treatments, lifestyle habits, and health care experts you can trust can help support a happy, healthy life. 

SWHR’s Psoriatic Arthritis Program was launched in 2021 to address the impact of autoimmune and immune-mediated skin diseases and comorbid conditions, such as psoriatic arthritis, on women’s health across the lifespan. The Program engages researchers, health care providers, patients, advocates, and health care policy decision-makers to explore strategies to address knowledge gaps, unmet patient needs, and relevant policies that present barriers to equitable and quality care for women living with psoriatic arthritis. This toolkit builds on previous PsA program activities, including a diagnosis fact sheet launched in August 2021 and a virtual conversation with patient advocates, which was held in October 2022 .  

SWHR’s Psoriatic Arthritis Program is supported by an educational sponsorship from Eli Lilly & Company. SWHR maintains editorial control and independence over educational content.