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Psoriatic arthritis: causes, symptoms and treatment

by Alivia Nyhan
Published: Last Updated on

Psoriatic arthritis is a disorder that causes joint pain and inflammation. It occurs in people with psoriasis, a chronic skin disease whose symptoms are manifested by the presence of a scaly rash that generates itching, being more common on the elbows, knees, and scalp.

Many people with psoriasis are unaware of the risk of developing psoriatic arthritis. Even some who live with mild psoriasis or relatives with this skin condition can develop psoriatic arthritis. However, not everyone with psoriasis develops psoriatic arthritis. This disease causes joint pain and swelling and redness of the joints, especially in the knees, fingers, toes, and ankles. In general, skin symptoms appear before joint discomfort, although both can co-occur occasionally. This common disorder affects both men and women, and it most often develops between the ages of 30 and 55.

Although this disease can damage the joints and other parts of the body, its effects can be reduced with an early diagnosis and treatment. At FastlyHealwe, explain the causes, symptoms, and treatment of psoriatic arthritis.

Symptoms of psoriatic arthritis

The symptoms of psoriatic arthritis can vary depending on the affected joints and the intensity of the damage to them.

  • Pain and swelling in one or more joints. Usually, the wrists, knees, ankles, and the joints of the fingers and toes, known as distal, are affected. It is more common for the pain to intensify at night or worsen with rest.
  • Inflammation of the fingers and toes acquiring the appearance of a sausage.
  • Pain in the Achilles tendon or sole.
  • Pain in the lower back, buttocks, and neck.
  • Presence of dry, scaly patches of grayish color on the skin’s surface, on the scalp, elbows, knees, and the lower part of the spine.
  • Changes in the nails of the hands and feet, frequently due to the presence of minor points on the surface, are called foveas.

It is essential to inform the doctor about changes that may have been detected, such as swelling in the fingers or pain in the back, since they are some typical signs of the disease.

The condition in one joint does not cause the same damage in another; that is, if a person has arthritis in the right knee, it does not necessarily imply that the left knee will also suffer from the disorder. However, symmetric arthritis is likely to occur, so both peripheral joints, such as the knees, are affected simultaneously.

The development of the different symptoms of psoriatic arthritis is affected by the presence of heat and swelling in the synovium. This membrane covers the joint and could cause damage and deformity. However, an adequate treatment applied on time can considerably improve the quality of life.

Causes of psoriatic arthritis

The cause of psoriatic arthritis is currently unknown. However, it is believed that it could be a consequence of certain genetic, immunological, and environmental factors.

  • Genetic and hereditary factors. They can influence the development of the disease in some people. Still, it is unknown the element by which some people develop arthritis with the same inheritance and others do not.
  • Immunological factors . Psoriatic arthritis is characterized by an alteration of the immune system that causes it to send misleading signals that accelerate the growth cycle of skin cells. Therefore, when there is an immune deficiency, there is also a worsening of arthritis activity.
  • Infection or psychological disorder. Some people are more susceptible to developing the disease, so an illness or psychological treatment may be the trigger.

Diagnostic of psoriasis arthritis

The diagnosis of psoriatic arthritis is usually made through a physical examination. The doctor will look for the presence of the typical symptoms of psoriasis using signs on the skin, as well as other possible symptoms. Possible joint abnormalities such as pain when performing movement, tenderness, or inflammation will also be detected, as well as detecting possible changes in the nails. Likewise, some tests will also be performed to help confirm or rule out the diagnosis of psoriatic arthritis:

  • X-rays . It is used to detect bones, joint tissues, and cartilage changes.
  • Blood tests . This test is straightforward and clarifies that the symptoms are typical of other diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis.
  • Tests to check the fluid in the joints to rule out gout or septic arthritis.

Treatment of psoriatic arthritis

The treatments that must be carried out will be focused on dealing with psoriatic arthritis, psoriasis, and also both conditions.

Treatment of both diseases

In most cases, people with psoriatic arthritis also have psoriasis, so it will be necessary to coordinate treatment by the dermatologist, rheumatologist, and the GP. Some medicines are effective for both diseases, while some can only be used for each case. Treatment must be personalized since each person may require extra care. Therefore, the doctor must carry out a follow-up.

Treatment for psoriasis

We should speak with the dermatologist to recommend the best treatment to alleviate the skin symptoms of psoriasis. Drugs can usually be prescribed to improve the skin and strengthen the immune system and require skin topicals and treatments using sunlight or special ultraviolet light.

Treatment for psoriatic arthritis

Controlling inflammation is one of the main objectives of treating psoriatic arthritis since it can lead to joint damage. Controlling inflammation can delay joint damage. Therefore, the doctor will mainly try to reduce inflammation, relieve pain, and maintain joint function as much as possible.

This article is merely informative, at FastlyHeal .com we do not have the power to prescribe medical treatments or make any type of diagnosis. We invite you to see a doctor in the case of presenting any type of condition or discomfort.

If you want to read more articles similar to Psoriatic Arthritis: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment , we recommend that you enter our Bones, Joints and Muscles category .

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