Psoriatic arthritis is an inflammatory joint condition caused by psoriasis. It affects approximately 30% of people with psoriasis and can affect any joint. Psoriatic arthritis can be managed with proper treatment but cannot be cured. With early diagnosis and appropriate management, psoriatic arthritis patients can lead healthy lives free of significant symptoms. The most common psoriatic arthritis symptoms are pain in the joints and tendons.
These are not entirely understood, but scientists believe a combination of genetic, environmental, and immunological factors causes it. Genetically, those with psoriasis are more likely to develop psoriatic arthritis if they have family members with the disease or if their body has specific genes associated with an increased risk of developing the condition.
Environmental factors can also contribute to psoriatic arthritis, such as a virus or bacteria infecting the joints, long-term stress, or excessive alcohol consumption. Lastly, immunological factors may also be involved where the immune system mistakenly attacks healthy tissue near the joints leading to inflammation.
The cause of Psoriatic Arthritis can be difficult to pinpoint due to its multifactorial origin, but there are ways of managing and reducing the symptoms to improve quality of life. Early diagnosis is vital to initiate appropriate treatment.
The earliest signs of psoriatic arthritis can be hard to spot. Diagnosis is based on the patient's medical history, physical examination, and laboratory tests. The doctor will ask about the patient's symptoms and any family history of psoriasis or arthritis. They may also check for tenderness around the joint and stiffness in the morning or after inactivity.
Patients must seek professional advice if they suspect they have psoriatic arthritis so that the condition can be appropriately managed and treated. Blood tests can measure levels of inflammation in the body, and X-rays can detect joint damage caused by psoriatic arthritis. In some cases, additional imaging techniques, such as MRI scans, may be needed to make a definitive diagnosis.
Psoriatic arthritis symptoms are many. The most common is joint pain, ranging from mild to severe. Other symptoms may include:
- Swelling and stiffness of the joints
- Pain in the tendons or ligaments
- Tenderness around the joints
- Skin rash (psoriasis)
- Problems with mobility or daily activities such as dressing, cooking, and more.
It is important to note that each person's experience with psoriatic arthritis will differ, and their symptoms may come on suddenly or gradually over time. It is best to consult with a doctor if any of these symptoms are experienced so that an appropriate treatment plan can be established.
The main aim of treatment for psoriatic arthritis is to reduce inflammation, relieve pain and stiffness, and preserve joint mobility. Treatment typically involves a combination of drugs, lifestyle changes, physical therapy, and alternative therapies such as yoga or acupuncture.
Drugs that may be prescribed include non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), corticosteroids, disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs), biologic agents, and intra-articular injections. Each patient's treatment plan will depend on the severity of their condition, so it is essential to consult with a doctor about the most suitable medication for them.
Physical therapy can also help manage symptoms by strengthening the muscles around the joints, improving flexibility and range of motion, and helping to reduce pain. It is crucial to find a physical therapist experienced in working with psoriatic arthritis patients.
Finally, lifestyle changes such as quitting smoking, losing weight (if needed), eating healthy food, and getting enough rest can also help manage symptoms. Relaxation techniques such as yoga or meditation may be beneficial for managing stress which can trigger flares.
Psoriatic arthritis is a complex condition, but proper treatment and lifestyle modifications can effectively manage its symptoms and improve quality of life. It is essential to consult with medical professionals to create an appropriate plan of action that works best for you. Visit iaf.care.