About 30 percent of those with psoriasis develop the condition.

By Amber Brenza
Updated September 16, 2019
Credit: Stefanie Keenan/Getty Images

Over the past few weeks, Kim Kardashian West's health has been at the forefront of the newest season of her show, Keeping Up With The Kardashians. And while a specific diagnosis for Kardashian's symptoms was up in the air for a while, the reality TV star and businesswoman finally has an answer to what's been ailing her.

In Sunday night's episode of KUWTK, Kardashian had an ultrasound done on the joints in her hands, a procedure done after her blood test results were positive for lupus and rheumatoid arthritis antibodies. (Quick FYI: Just because someone tests positive for those antibodies, doesn't mean they definitely have lupus or rheumatoid arthritis).

After the ultrasound, Kardashian's doctor confirmed that she did not have lupus or rheumatoid arthritis—but she was diagnosed with psoriatic arthritis, a chronic, inflammatory disease of the joints. "I’m so relieved,” she said, after getting her results. “The pain is going to come and go sometimes but I can manage it and this is not going to stop me."

What is psoriatic arthritis, exactly?

First, you need to remember another important part of this story: Kardashian also has psoriasis, which is linked to psoriatic arthritis. She was diagnosed with psoriasis, an autoimmune disease, in 2010 when her mom, Kris Jenner recognized the rash on her daughter's legs. Psoriasis in general affects up to 7.5 million people in the US, according to the American Academy of Dermatology, and often presents as raised red, white, or silvery patches on the skin.

According to the National Psoriasis Foundation (NPF), about 30 percent of people with psoriasis will go on to develop psoriatic arthritis—typically 10 years after psoriasis is first diagnosed. The chronic, inflammatory disease is caused by a malfunctioning immune system, which creates inflammation in the joints which can lead to swelling, pain, stiffness, and fatigue.

There's no cure for psoriatic arthritis, per the NPF, but treatments, like steroids, are available to help stop the disease progression, lessen pain, protect joints and preserve range of motion. Left untreated, however, psoriatic arthritis can lead to permanent joint damage, which is why it's so important for those with the condition to work closely with their rheumatologist to find a treatment plan that works best for them.

Apparently, Kardashian has already found a treatment plan that work for her, according to an interview with Today before the episode aired. “I unfortunately had to be put on medication to stop the symptoms," she said. "I tried everything natural for the longest time and we chose the best route for me so luckily right now everything is under control."

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