Jan 16, 2017

What is Psoriatic Arthritis?

psoriatic-arthritis-inflammatory-skin-condition-overview

 

What is Psoriatic Arthritis?

When people hear the word psoriasis, they typically think of a skin disease that results in itchiness and scaly rashes. However, what many people do not know that about 30% of patients who have been diagnosed with psoriasis can begin to develop a form of arthritis called Psoriatic Arthritis. There are many causes, symptoms, treatments, and factors to having psoriatic arthritis, and we are here to help answer your questions.

What are the symptoms? 

The beginning stages of psoriatic arthritis are similar to the symptoms one would experience for other types of arthritis. For example, patients typically feel significant pain in their joints, along with stiffness, swollenness, and achiness. You might also find changes and infections in your nails, as well as redness and pain in your eyes. The majority of patients with psoriatic arthritis have already been diagnosed with psoriasis, and therefore have experienced roughness, itchiness, and toughness of skin. If you are experiencing any of the above symptoms or have already been diagnosed with psoriasis, please contact our clinic as soon as possible to determine whether you currently have psoriatic arthritis.

What kind do I have? 

Psoriatic Arthritis can fall into five different categories:

  1. Symmetric psoriatic arthritis

This is the most common form of psoriatic arthritis. Similar to rheumatoid arthritis, this type affects joints on both sides of the body simultaneously.

  1. Distal psoriatic arthritis

Specifically triggering inflammation and stiffness in the finger and toes, this form can often create problems in your nail beds.

  1. Asymmetric psoriatic arthritis

Asymmetric means that this type of psoriatic arthritis doesn’t reside in the same joints on both sides of the body. This form is the second most common, and typically only has mild symptoms.

  1. Arthritis mutilans

Labeled as the most severe form, this only affects a small population of those with psoriatic arthritis. Mutilans can lead to deformed joints in the fingers and toes, sometimes even destroying them completely.

  1. Spondylitis

This form refers to the swelling and inflammation of the spinal column. Symptoms include stiffness and swelling in the neck, lower back, and sacroiliac joints. Motion in these joints are particularly painful.

What now?  

Although a cure does not exist yet for this disease, there are many treatments that focus on controlling the inflammation and preventing aches and pains in the joints. The first step is to meet with a physician for proper medications and medical treatments. After extensive evaluations from a trained professional, there are several daily self-care strategies we highly recommend, including regular physical activity, healthy diet and nutrition, skin protectants and moisturizers, and stress free activities.

When it comes to arthritis, there are many different forms that the disease can take depending on your symptoms. If you are experiencing joint pain, swollen fingers and toes, foot pain, lower back pain, or if you have already been diagnosed with psoriasis, then you might have psoriatic arthritis. Our trained physicians at Carolina Arthritis are help to help you diagnose and assess future treatments!