Treating your psoriatic arthritis may not only save your joints. It could save your hearing, too.
On top of known comorbidities such as cardiovascular disease and the metabolic syndrome, psoriatic arthritis patients may also be more susceptible to hearing and balance issues, according to the results of a recent study.
The study, which was published earlier this month in the Journal of Rheumatology, compared 60 people with psoriatic arthritis, all patients at a rheumatology clinic in Lugo, Spain, with 60 healthy controls. All study participants underwent an ear, nose and throat examination, as well as a series of hearing, balance and inner ear tests.
Results indicate that 31.7 percent of people with psoriatic arthritis had hearing loss, compared with only 6.7 percent of controls. In addition, 23.3 percent of psoriatic arthritis patients had impaired balance, while none of the controls did.
Inner ear damage, which can cause hearing and balance impairments, was found in up to 26.7 percent of psoriatic arthritis patients. Again, none of the controls had this damage.
Inner ear damage has been associated with other forms of arthritis and autoimmune diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, systemic sclerosis and ankylosing spondylitis. The study authors sought to determine whether inner ear damage, and the hearing and balance problems associated with it, occurred with psoriatic arthritis as well.
Miguel A. González-Gay, an author of the study, attributes the hearing and balance issues found in psoriatic arthritis patients to the presence of chronic inflammation. He urges patients to seek effective treatment as soon as possible to reduce the risk of these and other comorbidities.
“Psoriatic arthritis encompasses a number of complications, not only those directly related to joint manifestations,” González-Gay said. “Patients should look for active and early therapy to minimize complications.”
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