What is psoriatic arthritis?

What is psoriatic arthritis?

Psoriatic arthritis is an inflammatory arthritis associated with a skin condition known as psoriasis. The symptoms of this disease can be similar to those of rheumatoid arthritis. The exact cause of psoriatic arthritis has not been established. As a rule, it begins at the age of 30-50 years. The severity of the disease varies from mild to debilitating. Psoriatic arthritis is associated with psoriasis, a chronic skin and nail disease.

The disease often occurs with damage to the peripheral joints and damage to the spine. Moreover, the symptoms of psoriatic arthritis and rheumatoid arthritis are very similar, and almost everyone affected by this disease has psoriasis. Approximately 10-25% of people with psoriasis develop arthritis, accompanied by pain and swelling in one or more joints.

The etiology of the disease has not been established. However, it is suggested that psoriatic arthritis occurs under the influence of a combination of immune, genetic and environmental factors.

Who is at risk? 

Psoriatic arthritis affects both men and women between the ages of 30 and 50 equally. Although the possibility of developing this disease in childhood is not ruled out. Compared to the many other types of arthritis, psoriatic arthritis is relatively rare. Skin manifestations of psoriasis usually appear months or years earlier than arthritis. Despite this trend in the development of the disease, in 15% of cases, the diagnosis of arthritis precedes the diagnosis of psoriasis.

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Symptoms of This arthritis

Psoriatic arthritis , Deformation in hands
Psoriatic arthritis , Deformation in hands

The symptoms listed below will indicate the presence of psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis. Red, scaly patches on the scalp, elbows, knees, or buttocks, but maybe one small speck that has appeared on the scalp. In some cases, the rash covers a large area of ​​the body. Pain and swelling in one or more joints (most often the distal joints of the hands, feet, wrists, knees, or ankles). Swelling of the fingers or toes, which makes them look like sausages. Stiffness of the joints, which can also appear in the morning. The disease can begin suddenly, sometimes the development of the disease occurs gradually, over several months or years.

Diagnosis of the disease 

The presence of psoriasis of the skin or nails, against which articular symptoms join. Genetic predisposition is an important factor. Since the symptoms of psoriatic arthritis may resemble other types of arthritis (gout, reactive arthritis and rheumatoid arthritis), additional examinations are necessary: ​​x-ray examination to detect changes in the bones and joints, laboratory tests: complete blood count, biochemical blood test, immunological blood tests, in order to exclude other causes of joint damage. It is important to understand that the diagnosis is made on the basis of a clinical examination, instrumental and laboratory data.

Treatment of psoriatic arthritis is prescribed by a rheumatologist, taking into account the course of the underlying disease.

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What threatens psoriatic arthritis?

As a rule, this disease is characterized by mild to moderate severity. With appropriate treatment, joint stiffness and pain can be relieved and the skin manifestations of psoriasis can be controlled. However, in some cases, psoriatic arthritis can lead to more serious complications, so combined medical treatment is required to control symptoms and prevent joint destruction.

When to see a doctor? 

Thickened, inflamed spots on the skin, pain and stiffness of the joints are alarming bells, the appearance of which is worth resorting to a doctor’s consultation. Changing nails, swollen fingers, rashes on the body – these symptoms should also bring you to the doctor’s office.

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