What is psoriatic athritis?
Psoriatic arthritis is arthritis and psoriasis combined. Usually a person has the psoriasis first , but this is not always the case. Psoriatic arthritis is very painful with symptoms including joint pain and swelling/stiffness. Many times there will be periods of remission.
When a person has psoriasis they often have patches of very dry skin, almost like dry scales that build up. Arthritis causes joint pain and stiffness.
Both are autoimmune problems — disorders that occur when your body's immune system, which normally fights harmful organisms such as viruses and bacteria, begins to attack healthy cells and tissue. The abnormal immune response causes inflammation in your joints as well as the overproduction of skin cells.
Anti-inflammatory drugs may be taken to help control the pain and stiffness, as well as the inflammation itself. Corticosteroids may also be taken (or injected by a doctor) to help relieve some of the pain in the joints from the arthritis.
Psoriatic arthritis is arthritis that is associated with psorias. However, the exacerbations (periods when the condition gets worse) do not always coincide with each other. Some people exhibit sausage shaped deformities of the fingers and toes.
Psoriasis is a chronic skin disorder in which scaly plagues appear on the body in various locations causing itching and pain. Sometimes the skin cracks complicating the illness. The exact etiology of psoriasis in idiopathic but an immune dysregulation is thought to be a causative factor. A genetic component may also be involved because people who suffer from the lesions commonly have a positive family history.
Arthritis is inflammation of any articulation but commonly the hands and knees are affected. Symptoms may be mild or severe causing disability.
Arthropathy psoriasis or psoriatic arthritis is the association of psoriasis skin lesions with damaged joints.
According to medical statistics, psoriatic arthritis affects approximately 7% of patients with psoriasis, with an approximately equal sex distribution and most commonly, it occures between 30-50 years.
Psoriatic arthritis can occur anytime during the development of psoriasis, usually occurs after about 5 to 10 years after the first signs of psoriasis, but there are rare situations when lesions of psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis occure in the same time, or very rare cases when psoriatic arthritis precedes psoriasis lesions for years.
In general, psoriasis arthropathy is affecting the small joints of the hands and / or legs (fist, heel) but it can affect any joint, including the large joints (knees, elbows, etc.) or the backbone. Symptoms of psoriasis arthropathy consist of pain of joints, both at rest and in motion, swelling of joints and soft tissues surrounding joints, reduced range of motions of the joints.
Many patients with psoriasis arthropathy, between 75 and 80%, have significant nail damages, with lesions which are typical of nail psoriasis.