Psoriatic Arthritis: Gender Matters

Psoriatic arthritis may affect men and women in different ways

March 9, 2013 / Author:  / Reviewed by: Robert Carlson, M.D

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(dailyRx News) Men and women are different in mind and body. Recent research suggests that gender may influence the way psoriatic arthritis affects patients.

A study found that men with psoriatic arthritis were about 60 percent more likely than women to have greater severe joint damage.

However, women reported that their psoriatic arthritis caused more impairment to their quality of life.

The authors concluded that gender, but not necessarily the level of joint damage, may be a big influence on the quality of life of patients with psoriatic arthritis.

"Ask a rheumatologist about protecting joints."

Researchers led by Lihi Eder, MD, PhD, at the Center for Prognosis Studies in the Rheumatic Diseases of the Toronto Western Hospital in Canada, wanted to know if men and women with psoriatic arthritis had different experiences.

The researchers enrolled 345 men and 245 women with psoriatic arthritis who came into the hospital clinic.

Each patient was assessed by a rheumatologist once every six to 12 months at the clinic.

Clinical tests checked for swollen joints and joint mobility. Participants were also asked to complete questionnaires about quality of life, level of function, overall health and fatigue.

Participants underwent joint scans of their hands, feet and back. The researchers used the scans to determine the level of joint damage. Joint damage was rated as mild, moderate or severe.

The researchers looked at the results of these tests for each participant’s most recent visit to the clinic.

Results showed that men were 1.8 times more likely than women to show axial involvement, which is inflammation where the spine meets the pelvis. Axial involvement can be very painful and disabling.

Men were also 1.6 times more likely to be in a higher category of joint damage than women.

Women reported higher scores on questionnaires for disability and fatigue, which means they experienced more interruption of function because of psoriatic arthritis. Women also had lower quality-of-life scores than men.

The authors concluded that men suffered more joint damage from psoriatic arthritis. However, women felt more impaired by their psoriatic arthritis even though they showed less joint damage.

The authors said, “Future studies are required to assess the progression of these changes over the course of the disease and the underlying mechanisms that lead to these differences.”

This study was published in the April issue of the Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases. The psoriatic arthritis clinic is funded in part by the Arthritis Society, Canadian Institutes of Health Research and the Krembil Foundation. The authors declared no competing interests.

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Review Date: 
March 6, 2013
Last Updated:
August 15, 2013