What is Psoriatic Arthritis?
Psoriatic arthritis develops in the joints of the body and can cause a variety of uncomfortable issues in those who suffer from it.
Psoriatic arthritis is most prevalent in individuals who have suffered from the skin condition known as psoriasis. It causes suffers to have pain, stiffness, and swelling around the joints. Individuals will also have patches of red, inflamed skin that flakes.
Symptoms of Psoriatic Arthritis
Suffers may suffer from psoriasis prior to developing psoriatic arthritis. This is not always the case, however. In rare instances, suffers may have limited or no noticeable signs of psoriasis on the skin.
All joints in the body can be affected by psoriatic arthritis. It does, however, most often affect the hands, feet, knees, spine, neck, and elbows. Psoriatic arthritis occurs due to it being an autoimmune condition. This means, the immune system becomes confused when protecting the body against illnesses and infections. Rather than protect the body, it attacks healthy parts thus resulting in psoriatic arthritis.
The condition occurs in a variety of people regardless of age. It is believed around 20% of people will develop psoriatic arthritis.
Diagnosing Psoriatic Arthritis
Patients believed to be suffering from psoriatic arthritis will be referred to a rheumatologist by their general practitioner. A rheumatologist will use their expertise to diagnose if a patient is suffering from psoriatic arthritis or another issue.
Blood tests and x-rays will be used to determine if an individual has psoriatic arthritis and will used to confirm a specialist’s diagnoses.
Treating Psoriatic Arthritis
Treatment for psoriatic arthritis aims to slow down the spread of the condition and to alleviate the symptoms. By alleviating a patient’s symptoms, their quality of life can be exponentially better.
Rheumatologists will prescribe a number of different medicines to improve the condition and help patients manage it. Along with alleviating the psoriatic arthritis symptoms, suffers will have a treatment for the psoriasis they also experience. There are three main ways to treat psoriatic arthritis. These treatments include non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), corticosteroids, disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs (DMARDs), and biological therapies. The medications will be able to treat a patient’s psoriasis. Additional medications such as creams and ointments, retinoid tablets, and phototherapy may be used.