Arthritis is one of the most common pain-inducing diseases in the world. There are several forms of the disease, some that are more common than others. A less common form is psoriatic arthritis. It doesn’t get talked about a lot, but it is very real, nonetheless.
Perhaps you’ve been wondering, “is there a psoriatic arthritis specialist near me?” If you are in London, I have good news: I am that specialist you’ve been looking for. In the meantime, let’s talk about psoriatic arthritis and what it’s all about.
Arthritis Linked to Psoriasis
Arthritis is a general term used to describe a number of different conditions that result in painful swelling of the joints. Psoriatic arthritis is a form linked to skin psoriasis. Going one step further, psoriasis is a skin condition that results in patches of skin becoming red, flaky, encrusted, and painful. Many patients observe scales on affected patches of skin.
Psoriasis is the result of excessive skin cell production. Unfortunately, the same mechanisms responsible for it can also affect the joints, and they become swollen and tender to the touch. In more serious cases, they can even be deformed.
Psoriatic arthritis is most likely to occur in the fingers and toes. However, it can occur in any joint. People experience psoriatic arthritis pain in the elbows, wrists, knees, ankles, and even the lower back.
Psoriatic Arthritis Symptoms
A person doesn’t have to physically exhibit scaly patches of skin to experience the pain of psoriatic arthritis. There have been cases where arthritis pain presented itself before skin blemishes began appearing. With that said, here are the most common symptoms of the condition:
- Psoriasis affecting the same joints
- Joint pain and stiffness
- Noticeable swelling and redness.
Other, less common symptoms include:
- Joint deformity (fingers and toes can look like sausages)
- Foot and heel pain
- Lower back pain (resulting from spondylitis).
I recommend seeing a psoriatic arthritis specialist if you exhibit any of these systems in conjunction with known psoriasis. There is a chance the two are related. If not, only an arthritis specialist is qualified to say for sure.
Causes of Psoriatic Arthritis
Psoriatic arthritis is an autoimmune disease. It occurs when the body’s immune system attacks healthy cells in and around joints. This causes inflammation that leads to pain and stiffness. Unfortunately, the swelling can also contribute to excess production of skin cells, making psoriasis worse.
Research suggests that genetics may play a role in developing the disease. Many people with one condition have a history of one or both in their family. Outside of genetics, it is possible that environmental factors may trigger the autoimmune response that results in psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis.
Diagnosis and Treatment
Psoriatic arthritis is normally diagnosed through a combination of physician observation, imaging, and laboratory tests. Unfortunately, while diagnosis can be conclusive, there is no cure for the disease. The best we can do is help patients manage it.
A pharmacological approach is what we rely on most often. Doctors prescribe anti-inflammatory drugs, anti-rheumatic drugs, and immunosuppressants. It may take a doctor several tries to get the balance of medications right.
Psoriatic arthritis is no pleasure to live with, but it can be managed and controlled. If you suspect you might be suffering from it, I would like the opportunity to speak with you. Perhaps we can work together to manage your pain so that the disease doesn’t control your life.