What is psoriatic arthritis?
Psoriatic arthritis – an inflammation of the joints in psoriasis (a chronic disease of the skin and nails). In psoriasis, the skin appears red patches covered with white or grayish scaly flakes. Usually, psoriasis first appears between the ages of 14 to 45 years, with equal frequency in men and women.
Psoriatic arthritis develops in approximately 10% of patients with psoriasis. Often it occurs in a few or even many years after the first symptoms of psoriasis, but may appear before the onset of skin symptoms.
What causes psoriatic arthritis?
The exact cause is unknown, but it is assumed that the disease is caused by the interaction of immune and genetic factors and environmental factors. Up to 40% of patients with psoriatic arthritis have a family history of psoriasis or arthritis.
Symptoms of psoriasis include skin changes: red scaly patches on the skin, scarring and pockmarks in the form of discoloration of the nails on the hands and feet. Spots (doctors say “psoriatic plaques”) may be very small. Very often they occur on the scalp at the hairline, on the tibia just below the knee or elbow to the forearm, but may be widely distributed throughout the body (on the trunk, on the head and extremities). Often, their appearance is accompanied by itching and discomfort for the patient.
Pain and swelling of the joints, usually the last joints of the fingers and toes, as well as wrist, elbow and knee joints. In some cases it may be struck only one joint, but also possible involvement in inflammation of several joints, so that the clinical picture resembles rheumatoid arthritis. Sacroiliac joints and spine may also be affected by the inflammatory process. Because of this psoriatic arthritis belongs to a group of diseases known as spondylarthrosis.
Psoriatic arthritis develops in a long time, but can also occur suddenly.
The doctor will ask about your symptoms and will examine. Because symptoms of arthritis are similar, the doctor may order additional tests:
– Blood test
– Analysis of joint fluid.
If a patient has skin manifestations of psoriasis, the exact diagnosis can be made almost immediately. In other cases, a thorough examination, and sometimes the diagnosis is confirmed by the appearance of skin lesions.
Management of patients with psoriatic arthritis
Your doctor may attract other professionals to produce an optimal program for the control and treatment of your disease. In general, healthy lifestyles and general good condition of the body play an important role in your condition.
The main goals of treatment include reduction of pain and inflammation of the joints, control of cutaneous manifestations of psoriasis and delay (or prevent) damage to the joints. Treatment is complex and involves the use of external drug products for oral use and other methods of treatment.
In psoriasis, careful skin care. You should use soft cosmetics, soap, avoid exposure to any irritating household chemicals.
Depending on the severity of the disease, severity of pain, the doctor will find a comprehensive program of treatment for the disease, which will include a properly chosen physical exercise (physical therapy instructor will recommend a set of suitable exercises), work and rest, and medicines. There are different groups of drugs that control psoriasis and improve the status of the requested and the appearance of the skin. Arthritis to reduce pain, inflammation and stiffness of the joints most commonly prescribed drugs from the group of NSAIDs. These drugs work quickly and are not addictive. In severe cases, arthritis can be applied corticosteroids and immunomodulatory drugs.
In patients with psoriatic arthritis frequently observed chronic fatigue, depression. Your doctor will help to cope with psychological problems and make recommendations, compliance with which will help you improve the quality of life.
Promises “instant cure”, “miraculous relief” sound very attractive to patients with chronic disease. Most of the funds advertised in this way, whether it be drugs, nutritional supplements, or any device is not dangerous, but to no avail. Typically, these tools are expensive and their effectiveness has not been proved or doubtful. Before taking any means, be sure to consult a physician.