Symptom Control vs Disease Control

Controlling your PsA symptoms is good, but please don’t confuse it with controlling your disease. The cold, hard truth is this: the only scientifically-proven way of slowing down the damage of PsA is with specialized medications from your rheumatologist. And by “scientifically proven” we mean large-scale, well-designed research recognized by The National Institutes of Health and similar bodies.

Look at it this way: suppose you have an achy, sensitive tooth. You know that something is going on with it, but you find that as long as you don’t chew hard foods, you take some OTC medications, and you avoid drinking anything too hot or cold, you feel just fine. You hardly notice that you have a problem tooth. But in your heart you know that the only real solution to your problem is to go to the dentist and take his/her treatment advice. And you also know that if you put it off, you may well be in for greater misery than you have now. There you have it: dental symptom control is not the same as dental problem control. And so it is with PsA.

All of us are concerned with symptom control: without it, our quality of life would suffer. There is a whole section of this site devoted to complementary therapies for a very good reason! Massage, anti-inflammatory diets, exercise acupuncture, gluten free regimes – some people find that they really help ease disease symptoms. But no matter how good your symptom control is, PsA can still be causing joint damage. And joint damage, once done, is permanent. That is why it’s so important to consider the advice of your rheumatologist very, very carefully. And that is why we call them “complementary therapies”: their role is in addition to the treatments that we know have been scientifically proven to prevent the potential damage of PsA. And make no mistake about it: this disease, while it can be mild, can also be aggressive and highly destructive. It is with good reason that one of our mantras around here is “Fear the disease, not the drugs”.