What is psoriatic arthritis?
Psoriatic arthritis is a form of inflammatory arthritis . Additionally, it is characterized by joint pain, swelling, and morning stiffness. Also, it is associated with having psoriasis or a family history of psoriasis. Both psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis are chronic autoimmune diseases. Either, conditions in which certain cells of the body attack other cells and tissues of the body.
Psoriatic arthritis can vary from mild to severe, it can present in the following ways:
- Oligoarticular, affects four or fewer joints in the body.
- Polyarticular, affecting four or more joints.
- Spondylitis, is less common and affecting the spine, hips, and shoulders.
What are the symptoms of psoriatic arthritis?
The symptoms of psoriatic arthritis may be gradual and subtle in some patients. However, in others, they may be sudden and dramatic. Additionally, it may be mild, affecting only one joint, or can be severe. Thus affecting multiple joints. However, not all patients experience all symptoms.
The most common symptoms are:
- Pain or aching, tenderness, and/or swelling in one or more joints. So, Psoriatic arthritis can cause swelling and tenderness in the joints. Additionally, making it difficult to move them. Also, it is most common in hands, feet, wrists, ankles, and knees.
- Joint stiffness is most notable in the morning. Also, with prolonged inactivity such as sitting for a long time.
- Reduced range of motion in affected joints.
- Pain or stiffness in the lower back. Psoriatic arthritis can cause inflammation in the spine. Additionally, this can lead to back pain and stiffness.
- Tenderness, pain, or swelling where tendons and ligaments attach to the bone (enthesitis), such as the Achilles’ tendon of the heel.
- Swelling of an entire finger or toe with a sausage-like appearance (dactylitis).
- Silver or gray scaly spots on the scalp, elbows, knees, and/or lower spine.
- Small, round spots called papules are raised and sometimes scaly on the arms, legs, and torso.
- Pitting (small depressions) of the nails. Therefore, Psoriatic arthritis can cause changes in the nails including splitting, or thickening.
- Detachment or lifting of fingernails or toenails.
- Inflammation of the eye (iritis or uveitis).Psoriatic arthritis can cause eye inflammation. Also, it can lead to redness, pain, and sensitivity to light.
- Fatigue. People with psoriatic arthritis may feel tired and run down, even if they are getting enough sleep.
What causes psoriatic arthritis?
The cause of psoriatic arthritis is unknown. However, researchers suspect that it develops from a combination of genetic (heredity) and environmental factors. Additionally, they also think that immune system problems, infection, obesity, and physical trauma play a role in developing the disease. However, Psoriasis itself is neither infectious nor contagious.
What are the treatment options for psoriatic arthritis?
The aim of treatment is to control the disease and relieve symptoms. Therefore, treatment may include any combination of the following:
- Medication options include nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs); corticosteroids (intermittent use); disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs (DMARDs); and biologics.
- Heat and cold therapy.
- Joint protection and energy conservation.
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms call a doctor. Additionally, it is important to see a healthcare provider for an accurate diagnosis. So, you can start appropriate treatment.
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