Psoriatic Arthritis

Psoriatic arthritis is a type of arthritis that occurs with scaly red patches on the skin that is called psoriasis. Condition of arthritis can damage your joints badly and at the same time psoriasis can affect any part of your body. Though there is no cure for psoriatic arthritis exist so the solution is to control the situation and prevent symptoms and damages in time before it gets severe and the condition of psoriasis becomes complicated. Signs and symptoms of psoriatic arthritis include:

  • Muscle and tendon pain

  • Swollen joints symmetrically or asymmetrically

  • Swollen fingers and toes

  • Pain in one or both foot

  • Scaly red patches on your skin which may spread to a large part of your body.

Symptoms when the condition gets severely complicated include eye problems such as eye pain, redness & blurred vision and this condition may lead to permanent damage or disability to your body parts such as destroying small bones in your fingers.

How is Psoriatic Arthritis caused ?

Psoriatic arthritis is an autoimmune disease in which your some healthy cells and tissues are attacked and badly affected by your immune system. This abnormal response of your immune system can affect your joint and can cause inflammation as well and can increase the production of skin cells which may lead your body to over produce skin cells and result in Psoriasis with Arthritis.

On the other hand psoriatic arthritis can also be caused due to some genetic issues and environmental changes like; viral or bacterial infection. These two factors also plays a big role in this condition.

Symptoms can range from mild to severe. In both psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis, disease flares may alternate with periods of remission.

How is Psoriatic Arthritis diagnosed ?

Before going for other tests and screening, your doctor will examine you by analysing your physical condition and your medical history and family history with the disease, your lifestyle can also be included further.

After the physical examination doctor may go for one or more of these tests:

Imaging Tests or Screening : These imaging tests are included to diagnose psoriatic arthritis:

1. X-Rays Test is used to determine damage to bones and joints and inflammation.

2. MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) Test which creates a detailed image of both soft and hard tissues inside your body by using a strong magnetic field and radio waves. This test helps to determine tendons and ligaments damage in your body.

3. CT Scan and Ultrasound Test is used to check how badly joints and other parts are affected in advance psoriatic arthritis condition.

Other Lab Tests:

1. Joint Fluid Test in this test a small amount of fluid is ejected from any affected joint of your body with the help of a needle. During this test if uric acid crystals are found in the fluid, that indicates the sign of gout instead of psoriatic arthritis.

2. RF (Rheumatoid factor), it is an antibody that is produced by your immunity system and is usually present in rheumatoid arthritis but not in psoriatic arthritis. If RF is found in your blood then you have rheumatoid arthritis rather than psoriatic arthritis.

Treatments :

There is no particular cure for psoriatic arthritis, in this way the treatment procedures are about to prevent joint pain, damage, disability and further inflammation in joints.

Medications

There are certain drugs which are use in combination for the treatment of psoriatic arthritis. Noticeably these medication can cause mild to severe side effects if not taken under a proper prescription.

Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), used to reduce inflammation and relieve pain. ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin IB, others) and naproxen sodium (Aleve) are over-the-counter options for NSAIDs. Usually it is prescribed in a high dose.

Disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs), used to slow down the progression of psoriatic arthritis, reduce inflammation and reduce the risk of permanent damage or disability for tissue and joints.

Immunosuppressants :azathioprine (Imuran, Azasan) and cyclosporine (Gengraf, Neoral, Sandimmune) used to control your overactive immune system.

Biologic drugs, or biologic response modifiers use to target specific regions of immune system that increases inflammation and causes joint damage. These biologic agents/drugs include; abatacept (Orencia), adalimumab (Humira), certolizumab (Cimzia), etanercept (Enbrel), golimumab (Simponi), infliximab (Remicade), ixekizumab (Taltz), secukinumab (Cosentyx), tofacitinib (Xeljanz) and ustekinumab (Stelara).

Steroids, injected in the affected joints to reduce inflammation.

  • Topical Treatment: Topical agents are available over-the-counter or with prescription as well. These can be lotion, gel, cream and ointments that can be used to control itchiness in the affected parts. Available options are; anthralin calcitriol or calcipotriene (forms of vitamin D-3), tazarotene (a derivative of vitamin A), steroid creams, salicylic acid.

  • Joint Replacement Surgery:
    If joints are severely damaged by psoriatic arthritis and there is a very low chance to be treated then it can be replaced with artificial prostheses made of metal and plastic.

    Lifestyle :

    As it is said, "prevention is better than cure", thus it is better to consider a healthy lifestyle in order to prevent such condition from affecting your body. Have a healthy diet to maintain your body fat and cholesterol level. Daily exercise or walking or jogging for up to 30 minutes can keep your joints and muscles healthy. Applying these to things in your lifestyle will help you prevent the condition of psoriatic arthritis.

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