While most people associate psoriasis with uncomfortable and unsightly symptoms like itchy skin and scaly rashes, it can also lead to other, more painful conditions like psoriatic arthritis. This type of arthritis specifically affects people living with psoriasis, impacting joints throughout the body.
If you want to know more, you’re in the right place. Read on to learn about causes, symptoms, and options for treatment when it comes to psoriatic arthritis.
What Causes Psoriatic Arthritis
Psoriatic arthritis can be attributed to both genetic and environmental factors. Many people with this condition do have a family history, and researchers have discovered genetic markers that may help predict the disease.
Flare-ups occur when the body’s immune system attacks healthy cells and tissue, causing inflammation in the joints and the overproduction of skin cells commonly associated with psoriasis.
Physical trauma and outside factors like illness and infection may also trigger psoriatic arthritis in people who are genetically inclined.
Psoriatic Arthritis Symptoms
Psoriatic arthritis is a chronic disease with symptoms that worsen over time. The most commonly reported signs are similar to those of rheumatoid arthritis, with joints that become swollen, painful, and sometimes warm to the touch.
However, this illness may also cause swollen fingers and toes, foot pain similar to tendinitis or plantar fasciitis, and lower back pain, known as spondylitis or sacroiliitis. In some cases, it can also cause pitted, crumbling, or separating nail beds and eye inflammation.
A small percentage of those affected by psoriatic arthritis will eventually develop arthritis mutilans. This is a severely painful and potentially debilitating condition that can, over time, destroy the small bones in the hands – especially the fingers.
Psoriatic arthritis may also elevate the risk of developing diabetes, hypertension, cardiovascular disease, and metabolic syndrome.
Treating Psoriatic Arthritis
There is currently no known cure for this condition. And, left without treatment, psoriatic arthritis can become disabling in a matter of years.
Most psoriatic arthritis treatments work to control the body’s immune response, reduce symptoms, and prevent further joint damage. This can include topical medications, disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs, known as DMARDs, and anti-inflammatories. Therapeutic treatments like steroid injections and joint replacement may also offer relief.
Have a look here for more information on treating this painful disease before it has the opportunity to impact your body permanently.
Living With Psoriatic Arthritis
Now that you know a bit more about the link between psoriasis and arthritis, it’s time to take action. Keep in mind; there is no definitive diagnostic testing available for this condition. Instead, your doctor will look at all the symptoms you’re experiencing, perform a physical exam, and potentially order bloodwork and imaging like an MRI or X-ray.
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