Psoriatic Arthritis - Symptoms, Risk factors and Treatment

Psoriatic arthritis is an autoimmune disorder- that occurs due to hyperactivity of your immune system. It causes your joints to become swollen, tender, and painful along with psoriasis- a condition in which your skin replicates much faster than that of usual speed, leading to scale formation over the skin and red patches. Psoriasis can occur anywhere in the body, but most commonly, it attacks the scalp, elbows, lower back, and knees. However, it is not contagious. It does not spread through touch because it occurs due to an abnormal reaction of your immune system.


Psoriatic arthritis can affect any part of your body. But most commonly it affects the fingertips and spine, ranging in severity from mild to severe. Usually, people are diagnosed with psoriasis first and later on they develop painful joints, a condition is known as psoriatic arthritis. It is a long-term condition with no such cure. The attacks may flare up and settle over time. However, symptoms can be managed with supportive treatment. Also, some lifestyle habits can help in coping up with the disease. 


Symptoms 


The signs and symptoms of psoriasis are


  • Red thick silvery patches

  • Dry flaky and cracked skin that may cause itching and eventually bleeding

  • Pitted ridged or thickened nails 

  • Swollen and stiff joints


The signs and symptoms of psoriatic arthritis may vary depending on the exposure to triggers. It may show the following signs and symptoms. 


  • Painful muscles 

  • Painful tendons

  • Scaly skin patches that get worse when joint pain flares up

  • Flaky and itchy scalp

  • Fatigue and weakness

  • Nail pitting

  • Separation of the nail from the nail bed

  • Swollen, tender, and painful joints on one or both sides of your body

  • Joint stiffness that is worst in the morning

  • Swollen fingers and toes

  • Redness of the eye

  • Eye pain and eye inflammation-a condition known as uveitis

  • Spinal pain and stiffness


Psoriatic gout, if left untreated, can cause permanent degeneration and damage to joints. Therefore, you must visit the healthcare provider soon if you have any of the above-mentioned complaints. 


Causes 


Psoriasis is an autoimmune disease, which means it occurs due to hyperactivity of your immune system. However, it may exacerbate upon exposure to certain triggers. It can be anything like;


  • an infection

  • an accident or injury

  • being overweight

  • smoking


Having a family history of psoriasis or psoriatic arthritis also puts you at risk of getting it. If anyone in your family has a history of it, you are at increased risk of getting it. Moreover, having psoriasis also increases the risk of getting psoriatic arthritis. Usually, people are diagnosed with psoriasis first and later on they develop psoriatic arthritis. 


Treatment 


Generally, healthcare providers work on reducing the inflammation and pain of your joints. They also prescribe anti-inflammatory drugs that can help reduce the inflammation of your joints, which in turn reduce the severity of the psoriatic arthritis attack. The following therapies may help in getting rid of psoriatic arthritis.


Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like ibuprofen and naproxen. They also tend to reduce inflammation of the joints up to a certain extent. 

Steroid injections are injected directly into the affected joints. They help in reducing pain by reducing inflammation. Corticosteroids work by suppressing the activity of your immune system, hence reduce its overactivity too that causes psoriatic arthritis. 


Disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs (DMARDs)

Other biological therapies


Conclusion


Psoriatic arthritis is an autoimmune disorder that occurs due to hyperactivity of your immune system. It causes your joints to become swollen, tender, and painful along with psoriasis. Psoriatic arthritis can affect any part of your body. But, most commonly it affects the fingertips and spine, ranging in severity from mild to severe.  It is a long-term condition with no such cure. The attacks may flare up and settle over time. However, symptoms can be managed with supportive treatment. Also, some lifestyle habits can help in coping up with the disease.


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