Psoriatic Arthritis (PsA) is a form of arthritis that simultaneously affects the joints and skin with inflammation. Specifically, the skin is affected by psoriasis, a chronic inflammatory skin condition that causes red patches and white flakes to appear on various areas of the skin. People affected by psoriasis may also have changes in their fingernails and toenails, which can become pitted, ridged, crumpled, or easily separated from the nail bed.
Symptoms of psoriatic arthritis include stiff, painful joints with redness, heat, and swelling in the surrounding tissues. When the hands and feet are affected, swelling and redness may result in a “sausage-like” appearance of the fingers or toes, otherwise known as dactylitis.
For most people with psoriatic arthritis, psoriasis appears before joint problems develop. Although both conditions may occur at any age, psoriasis typically begins during adolescence or young adulthood, and psoriatic arthritis usually occurs between the ages of 30 and 50. In a small number of cases, psoriatic arthritis develops in the absence of noticeable skin changes. Psoriatic arthritis can be difficult to distinguish from other forms of arthritis, especially when skin changes are minimal or absent.
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) can have physical symptoms, but it can also have an impact on your mental well-being and lower your quality of life. Aside from causing physical discomfort and pain, complications from RA can lead to disability and premature death.
People suffering from RA are at a higher risk for developing other chronic diseases such as heart disease and diabetes. In order to prevent people with RA from developing premature heart disease, treatment of RA focuses on reducing heart disease risk factors such as cessation of smoking and opting to lose weight.
For patients with RA who are obese, they have an increased risk of developing heart disease risk factors such as high blood pressure and high cholesterol. Obesity in RA patients also increases the risk of developing chronic conditions such as heart disease and diabetes.
Trying to go about your daily life with RA can be difficult. As the disease gets worse, many people with RA find they are unable to do as much as they used to. For instance, work loss among people with RA is highest among people whose jobs are physically demanding. Work loss is lower among those in jobs with few physical demands, or in jobs where they have influence over the job pace and activities.
Treating RA and managing its symptoms is possible, as early detection is strongly encouraged. If you have any questions or would like to schedule an initial appointment with our rheumatologist, please contact CORE Medical & Wellness today!