Psoriatic Arthritis is a long-term inflammatory arthritis that usually occurs in people affected by the autoimmune disease psoriasis. Most people develop psoriasis first and are later diagnosed with psoriatic arthritis, but the joint problems can sometimes begin before skin lesions appear. It is a chronic disease that gets worse over time, but you may have periods when your symptoms improve or go into remission.
The disease can affect joints on just one side or on both sides of your body. The signs and symptoms often resemble those of rheumatoid arthritis. Both diseases cause joints to become painful, swollen and warm to the touch. Some people develop foot pain, and lower back pain.
Psoriatic arthritis occurs when your body’s immune system begins to attack healthy cells and tissue. The abnormal immune response causes inflammation in your joints as well as overproduction of skin cells. Researchers have discovered certain genetic markers that appear to be associated with the disease. Many people who were diagnosed have a family member who was previously diagnosed with the disease.
No single test can confirm a diagnosis of psoriatic arthritis. But some types of tests can rule out other causes of joint pain, such as rheumatoid arthritis or gout.
During the appointment the doctor may closely examine your joints, feet and nails for signs of psoriatic arthritis. MRI’s, X-rays, and laboratory test are also used to help with the diagnoses.
No cure exists so treatment focuses on controlling inflammation in your affected joints to prevent joint pain and disability. Treatments include different medications such as : nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs, immunosuppresants, TNF-alpha inhibitors, and other medications. If medications don’t help, the doctor might recommend steroid injections which is injected into the affected joint. Joint replacement is also an option for severely damaged joints.