Psoriatic arthritis (PsA) is a special type of arthritis normally associated with psoriasis. Despite the fact that they have similarities in their names this doesn’t mean that one is caused by the other.
The link between the two diseases comes from the fact that they both tend to occur at the same time. There are many types of arthritis and sometimes it can prove difficult to diagnose them properly.
Statistics show that almost 30% of the people suffering from psoriasis also develop PsA. Psoriasis is a disease characterized by the eruption of the skin. The statistics seem to differ when it comes to the development of PsA in psoriasis patients. Another important aspect to know is that one is never as severe as the other.
The common symptoms of PsA are joint pain, stiffness and occasionally swelling. The area generally affected by PsA is the finger joint area, but it can also affect the ankles, knees, sacral and lower back and, in very rare cases, the upper-neck spine. At the same time there are several types of PsA depending on how common they are. Three of the most common types are oligoarthritis, plyarthritis and dactylitis.
There are also general symptoms associated with PsA which makes it hard to diagnose it. Some of these symptoms are general fatigue, tenderness and pain in the joint area and morning stiffness.
Diagnosis of PsA starts by excluding all the other major types of arthritis such as rheumatoid arthritis or osteoarthritis. What makes this process more difficult are nail changes, confusing blood tests involving antibody HLA-B27 and misread X-rays.
The actual cause of PsA is yet unknown. What is actually known is the fact that both PsA and psoriasis are associated indirectly with other medical issues. The list of morbidities consists of heart disease, strokes, obesity, depression, osteoporosis , inflammatory bowel disease, etc.
Despite the less-encouraging list of diseases associated with PsA, there is still some good news. The positive aspect of the disease is that it’s treatable, although there aren’t any treatments that can cure it. The list of treatments is pretty long, varying from medicine such as ibuprofen or methotrexate, biologics such as Enbrel and Humira. You can even try Cortisone injections in the joint to get some relief. There are many treatments and some of them differ from one individual to the other.
All of these aspects of the disease don’t paint too much of a pretty picture of PsA, especially for those who have the disease. Fortunately, there are treatments that can help you deal with the symptoms so that you can live a rather normal life. The problem is choosing the right treatment in order to get the best results.