Psoriatic arthritis explained as Kim Kardashian shares diagnosis after Met Gala diet

Kim Kardashian. (Getty Images)
Kim Kardashian opens up about psoriatic arthritis after losing weight for the Met Gala. (Getty Images)

Kim Kardashian has revealed that after losing weight to fit into the iconic dress once belonging to Marilyn Monroe she developed a condition called psoriatic arthritis.

To be able to wear the gown that Monroe sung Happy birthday, Mr President in, the reality star, businessperson and hopeful lawyer, 41, saw it is trying to get in shape for a role, altering things like her diet.

While it "absolutely did not fit" at first, she told allure in an interview as the magazine's new cover star, she added, recalling two weeks before the Met, "I was 10 pounds down and I was so proud of myself. Then I got 15 [pounds] and it fit. I couldn't believe it."

But for Kardashian, who usually eats plant-based food and started eating meat again for her pre-Gala diet, the magazine reports, this may have come at a price.

Then “psoriasis broke out over my body and I got psoriatic arthritis so I couldn’t really move my hands,” she told allure. “It was really painful, and I had to go to a rheumatologist who put me on a steroid. I was freaking out. I cut out the meat again, and it’s calmed down.”

Despite criticism at what has been seen as a crash diet, Kardashian has insisted she had a nutritionist, a trainer, had "never drunk more water in my life" and is aware that doing it really unhealthily is "not a good message".

But what is the condition that caused Kardashian so much pain?

What is psoriatic arthritis?

Hands of man with psoriatic arthritis. (Getty Images)
You might experience swollen, stiff and painful joints. (Getty Images)

Psoriatic arthritis is a type of arthritis that affects some people with psoriasis (makes sense, as Kim Kardashian has suffered with this too), the NHS website explains. Around 20-40% of people with psoriasis will develop psoriatic arthritis.

Generally speaking, arthritis is a common condition that causes pain and inflammation in a joint, and psoriasis is a skin condition that causes flaky patches of skin that form scales.

Psoriatic arthritis causes affected joints to become swollen, stiff and painful. In most cases, people will notice problems with their skin before the symptoms of the joints, though not always.

Like psoriasis, it is a long-term condition that can get progressively worse, with some severe cases posing a risk for the joints to become permanently damaged.

However, the good news is, if psoriatic arthritis is diagnosed and treated early, its progression can be slowed down and permanent joint damage can be prevented or minimised.

Psoriatic arthritis signs and symptoms

As cases can vary, some people have more severe problems affecting multiple joints, while others may only experience mild symptoms in one or two.

The most common symptoms are:

  • Pain

  • Swelling

  • Stiffness

These can affect any joint in the body, but commonly affects these areas:

  • hands

  • feet

  • knees

  • elbows

  • neck and spine

Tendons can be affected too, which can cause the worst problems.

Symptom usually develop slowly, making it harder for you to identify what you are suffering form. But in some cases, they can occur suddenly and without warning.

There might be times when your symptoms improve (known as remission) and periods when they get worse (known as flare-ups or relapses), the NHS warns.

While relapses can be hard to predict, they can often be managed with medicine.

Psoriatic arthritis causes

Women with psoriasis. (Getty Images)
Most people develop psoriatic arthritis after having psoriasis, a skin condition that can cause itching or soreness. (Getty Images)

It's not clear why some people with psoriasis develop psoriatic arthritis and others do not.

But like psoriasis, it is thought to be a result of the immune system mistakenly attacking healthy tissue, the NHS inform website explains.

Almost one in three people with psoriasis also have psoriatic arthritis, which tends to develop five to 10 years after diagnosis of the skin condition. While less rare, some people can also have problems with their joints before their skin.

Psoriatic arthritis treatments

Treatment can hopefully help relieve your symptoms, slow the progression of the condition and improve the quality of your life, the NHS advises.

This can involve a combination of different medicines, with some treating the skin condition. You should take one medicine to treat both your psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis if possible.

The main medicines used to treat psoriatic arthritis, as listed by the NHS are:

  • non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)

  • corticosteroids (steroid medication)

  • disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs (DMARDs) (tackle the underlying cause of inflammation)

  • biological therapies (block the chemicals in the blood, skin and joints that switch the immune system on and lead to attack of your joints and skin)

When to get help

GP talking to patient. (Getty Images)
A GP will be able to decide whether you need a referral, and explain any next steps. (Getty Imges)

You should see a GP if you have persistent pain, swelling or stiffness in your joints (even if you have not been diagnosed with psoriasis), the health service urges, and you can be given the correct advice and assessment and tests if needed.

If you have already been diagnosed with psoriasis, you should have check-ups at least once a year to monitor your condition, and then alert your doctor if you start noticing any problems with your joints. This will help treat it early, slow it down and reduce the chance of any permanent damage.

To find out more, visit this NHS page on psoriatic arthritis and this NHS inform page on the condition.

For support, you can ring psoriasis association's confidential helpline on 01604 251 620, email or WhatsApp 07387 716 439, available available Monday to Friday 09.00 to 16.00.

Watch: 7 foods that help psoriatic arthritis