Psoriatic arthritis is a chronic inflammatory disease that affects the joints. The condition affects men and women equally, but it typically develops in people older than 30. Psoriatic arthritis is a combination of arthritis and psoriasis, and most with the condition will experience both joint pain and itchy, scaly patches on the skin. This is a relatively common type of psoriasis, comprising around 30 percent of all cases. Like all forms of psoriasis, this is an autoimmune disease that results in pain and inflammation. Doctors and researchers don’t know its exact cause, but many think it is the result of a combination of genetic factors and environmental triggers, such as stress, infection, or physical trauma.
There is no cure, but medical intervention is typically necessary for symptom management. If you suspect you have the condition, schedule an appointment at Zel Skin & Laser Specialists. We can work with you to develop a treatment plan that prioritizes your comfort and lifestyle while helping to reduce symptoms.
Types of Psoriatic Arthritis
There are five types of psoriatic arthritis. Symmetric affects the same joints on both sides of your body, while asymmetric affects just one side. Some types of the condition are better characterized by the locations of the joints they affect.
- Distal interphalangeal predominant psoriatic arthritis affects the joints closes to the finger and toenails.
- Spondylitis psoriatic arthritis involves the spine, affecting the entire column from the neck to the lower back. This can make movement very painful.
- Psoriatic arthritis mutilans is a severe form of the condition that affects the hands and feet. It can also cause extreme neck and lower back pain.
Only a doctor can provide a definitive diagnosis, so schedule an appointment at the onset of symptoms.
Psoriatic Arthritis Symptoms
Symptoms manifest differently in each person, but general symptoms can include any of the following.
- Stiffness, especially in the morning
- Muscle and tendon pain
- Swollen fingers and toes
- Swollen and tender joints
- Flaky scalp
- Scaly patches of skin
- Separation of the nail from the nail bed
- Nail pitting
Remember that this condition can go into remission, which means your symptoms may subside occasionally. Strategic psoriatic arthritis treatment can help some people achieve remission.
Psoriatic Arthritis Treatment
At the onset of treatment, a doctor will work with you to develop specific goals and ways to measure progress. This treatment will likely combine nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, like ibuprofen and naproxen, as well as disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs, like methotrexate, leflunomide, and sulfasalazine. Steroids, immunosuppressants, and topical treatments may also be used.
Lifestyle changes can also improve some symptoms of psoriatic arthritis. Adding exercise to your daily routine can help to ease joint stiffness, while taking steps to relieve stress can reduce psoriasis flare-ups. A balanced diet can also help to ease symptoms.
Psoriatic arthritis is a life-long condition, but regularly visiting a dermatologist can help manage symptoms. Diagnosis psoriatic arthritis can be a lengthy process, often involving imaging tests, like X-rays and MRIs, and blood tests. Making an appointment is the first step toward living a happier, healthier life with psoriatic arthritis. Contact us to schedule your visit today.
*Results may vary per patient. Services vary by location.