Newer Treatments Encouraging for Patients woth Psoriatic Arthritis

Golf pro Phil Mickelson's admission that he's battling psoriatic arthritis has put the national spotlight on this chronic autoimmune disease.

“Psoriatic arthritis is a chronic inflammatory disease of the joints and skin that affects as many as one million people in the U.S.,” explains Majid Serushan, M.D., board-certified rheumatologist. “It affects up to 30 percent of people who have psoriasis – a common skin disease that causes cells to build up rapidly on the surface of the skin, forming thick silvery scales and itchy, sometimes painful red patches.”

Fifty-four-year-old Michael Zemaitis of New Lenox knows that all too well.

The self-employed CPA was diagnosed with psoriatic arthritis when he was a child. “I would get stiff joints and have a hard time walking around,” he explained. “My parents would take me to the doctor, but my symptoms would go away.”

Michael’s experience with the disease was classic: Flare-ups alternating with periods of remission. Eventually he was diagnosed with psoriatic arthritis and put on nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications – the only treatment available at the time.

Today, Michael’s condition is under control thanks to aggressive medical management by Dr. Serushan.

Like Mickelson, he takes a biologic medication (Humira) to reduce the signs and symptoms. The medication not only decreases joint pain, stiffness and swelling, it also clears up the skin lesions caused by psoriasis.

“Biologic agents like Humira and Enbrel also help prevent further damage to the bones and joints, and enable patients to perform their daily activities,” Dr. Serushan explained.

“Dr. Serushan has taken great care of me,” he adds. “I can’t say enough good things about him. I’m able to work. I take care of my daughter, and I fish whenever I can. A positive attitude is everything.”

Don’t Ignore Symptoms

Symptoms of psoriatic arthritis include warm, painful, swollen joints; sausage-like swelling of the fingers and toes; and back and foot pain.

“If you have psoriasis, be sure to tell your doctor if you develop joint pain. There are many effective therapies available today,” Dr. Serushan added. “Most people whose disease is well-managed can enjoy many of the activities they always have.”

For a referral to an arthritis specialist, call Ingalls Care Connection at 1.800.221.CARE(2273).

Success Stories
  • Title

    Inspirational stories of courage and hope

Progress Magazine