Psoriatic arthritis is a chronic form of arthritis. It usually occurs in people who have skin psoriasis. However, it can occur in people without skin psoriasis.
Generally, the problem starts with skin psoriasis, and when it becomes chronic, psoriatic arthritis (PsA) may develop. It is an inflammatory immune response in which the immune system starts to attack healthy tissues. Until now, we don’t know why it happens, but it seems likely genetic and environmental factors play a role.
In most cases with PsA, appropriate treatment will relieve pain, protect the joints, and maintain mobility. Physical activity improves the condition by maintaining joint movement.
In this article, we will talk about the common symptoms of PsA and the main lines of treatment.
Symptoms of psoriatic arthritis:
Symptoms of PsA vary from person to person, but most cases present with mild symptoms. Early diagnosis is the key treatment of PsA and protects against farther extensive tissue damages.
PsA usually affects the large joints like those of the lower extremities and distal joints of the fingers and toes. However, it can also affect any joint in the body.
- Common symptoms:
- Tenderness, pain, and swelling over the joints.
- Swollen fingers and toes.
- Low range of mobility.
- Morning stiffness and tiredness.
- Nail changes.
- Eye symptoms: uveitis or conjunctivitis.
- Arthritis mutilans: it’s a severe form of the disease in which there is extensive joint damage that may lead to permanent deformity and loss of movement.
There is a little connection between psoriasis and PsA, the severity of your condition has nothing to do with the psoriatic skin lesions you have. You may have many skin lesions and arthritis only in one joint.
Diagnosis of psoriatic arthritis:
As we’ve mentioned before; early diagnosis and recognition of PsA is the key treatment. Unfortunately, there is no specific test for psoriatic arthritis. PsA is diagnosed clinically depending on the symptoms or the risk factors you have.
- Risk factors:
- Psoriasis: it is the greatest risk factor for PsA. Psoriasis is a disease caused by an abnormal immune response, in which the immune system attacks the skin. It’s manifested with scaly red and white patches on the skin.
- Family history.
- Age: PsA can affect any age. However, it usually affects the ages between 30 and 50.
- Lifestyle treatment:
They say prevention is better than the cure. Many people with PsA experience joint stiffness and muscle weakness due to the lack of mobility. That is why physical activity is very important in psoriatic arthritis. You don’t need to do hard workouts, walking is an excellent way to get exercise.
- Pharmacological treatment:
Most of the cases present with mild symptoms. For those who experience joint pain and tenderness; Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs are prescribed; e.g. Ibuprofen or Naproxen.
In severe and resistant cases, disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs are prescribed e.g. Sulfasalazine, Methotrexate, and Cyclosporins.