What is Psoriatic Arthritis?

What is Psoriatic Arthritis?

Richard Kang, MD Blog

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Psoriatic arthritis is a specific type of arthritis that typically affects people suffering from psoriasis, a skin condition that causes the growth of red patches capped with pale-colored scales. While most cases of psoriatic arthritis develop as a side effect of psoriasis, joint complications occasionally occur before the skin lesions appear. Unfortunately, there is currently no cure for psoriatic arthritis, so it is important to know the symptoms and seek preventative treatment to avoid permanent damage to your joints.


Symptoms


It may be difficult to immediately detect psoriatic arthritis, as it is a chronic condition that generally progresses over time. Symptoms of psoriatic arthritis can also occur anywhere in the body from appendanges to joints, and may vary in their scope and degree of severity from day to day. Psoriatic arthritis may occur on only one side of the body, or on both. Some of the key symptoms include:

  • Swelling of affected appendages or joints, including fingers and toes. This swelling tends to be painful, and may cause difficulty using your hands or feet.
  • Stiffness or trouble moving specific areas of the body, such as the back. Spondylitis is a complication resulting from psoriatic arthritis that inflames the joints between your spine and pelvis, restricting movement and flexibility.
  • Pain where ligaments connect to bones. While this pain is most commonly experienced in your feet (particularly in your Achilles tendon,), it can also occur in other areas, such as your knees and elbows. If you’re experiencing pain, you should consult a medical professional right away since psoriatic arthritis can lead to irreversible damage if left untreated.

Risk Factors


Much like psoriasis, psoriatic arthritis is a complication resulting from an overactive immune system where healthy cells and tissue are attacked by the body’s defenses. While those with a family history of psoriatic arthritis are at a higher risk for developing the condition, there are a variety of other factors that play a role in its development, such as:

  • Psoriasis. Because both conditions are a result of a hyperactive immune system, having psoriasis is a good indicator that you may eventually develop psoriatic arthritis.
  • Environment. Although genetics certainly play a role, certain environmental factors such as exposure to extreme cold and high stress levels may also lead to psoriatic arthritis.
  • Age. As your body and joints tend to weaken and deteriorate with age, your risk of psoriatic arthritis increases. Although anyone can develop the condition, it is most common in people between the ages of 30 and 50 years old.

Treatment


Unfortunately, no cure has been discovered for psoriatic arthritis, so treatment relies on managing the pain and inflammation caused by the disease in order to slow its progression. There are a number of pharmaceutical drugs intended to help control psoriatic arthritis, including anti-inflammatory medications like Advil or Tylenol that reduce swelling and alleviate pain; antirheumatic drugs such as Trexall or Arava that slow the decay of tissue and tendons; and immunosuppressants such as Imuran or Neoral that aim to control your overactive immune system.

For psoriatic arthritis that has already progressed to the point of joint damage, your doctor may recommend steroid injections to help reduce swelling or joint replacement surgery to install an artificial joint in place of one that has been damaged beyond repair.


Are You Struggling With Psoriatic Arthritis?


If you need treatment for your psoriatic arthritis pain, CORE Medical & Wellness can help. Call 888-521-0688 to schedule an appointment, or fill out our online form to have us call you back at a time that’s most convenient for you. You can find more information online at https://coremedicalwellness.com/services/interventional-pain-management/

Dr. Richard Kang is double board certified in anesthesiology and pain medicine, and he  completed an interventional pain medicine fellowship at the prestigious New York Presbyterian Hospital / Columbia University – College of Physicians and Surgeons.  Read his full bio here.