Psoriatic Arthritis is an extremely painful medical condition in which the body’s joints are afflicted, causing inflammation and swelling of the tissues. This is typically caused by an autoimmune disease, and is one of the most commonly diagnosed forms of arthritis around the world. It is not curable, but it can be managed to some degree. It usually appears in adolescence or early adulthood, and can affect both sexes.
The diagnosis of psoriatic arthritis typically involves doctor review of the patient’s medical history. A physical examination will also be performed, including x-rays of the joints and areas surrounding them, blood tests, and urine tests. In patients with psoriatic arthritis, common skin disorders such as psoriasis and eczema may occur first, prior to joint pain and inflammation developing. Urate deposits found in the joint fluids may be the cause of this, as well. Other conditions that have been suspected in patients include pancreatitis, thyroid problems, and gynecological infections.
The majority of patients with psoriatic arthritis have red patches of skin in the area affected by the condition. These can appear on any part of the body, but most commonly affect areas of the elbows, knees, and scalp. The skin in these areas becomes cracked, blistered, and itchy. The severity of the psoriatic arthritis symptoms can vary greatly, and can affect one or multiple joints at a time. Common symptoms include swelling of the hands or feet, red patches on the skin, tenderness, warmth, pain, and stiffness in these areas.
Another common symptom of psoriatic arthritis is fatigue. Because the arthritis causes inflammation of the joints, it has the potential to lead to a variety of other symptoms, including fatigue, swelling of the lymph nodes, and increased sensitivity to the cold. Additional symptoms that may be associated with this disorder include depression, an inability to concentrate, poor memory, decreased sex drive, nausea, low energy, headaches, fever, weight gain or loss, confusion, memory loss, muscle weakness, urinary or bowel discomfort, and a lowered immune system. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, you should contact your doctor immediately to ensure that you are not suffering from a more serious cardiovascular disease or other illness. Although there is currently no cure for psoriatic arthritis it does provide long term relief by reducing the inflammation associated with the disease.
Psoriatic Arthritis is diagnosed based on the presence of at least five of the following signs or symptoms: joint stiffness, fatigue, an inability to sleep well, joint pain, an increase in the frequency of urination, and skin lumps. If a patient has been diagnosed with psoriatic arthritis and has been using medications on a regular basis for two or more years, they should be evaluated for alternative treatments as well. In some cases, your doctor may suggest that you first try an all natural treatment or ointment, such as wraps, creams, or lotions. In other instances your doctor may suggest surgery if non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs or steroids are not controlling your symptoms. Surgery is generally only considered if psoriatic arthritis has become a second or third disease after you were diagnosed.
The treatment of psoriatic arthritis will vary depending on the type of psoriatic arthritis that you have. Common treatment options include steroids or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, which are usually taken to reduce the inflammation associated with the disease. Corticosteroid medications which are taken orally or injected into your joints also sometimes help. For symptoms that are mild to moderate, your doctor may recommend that you rest your fingers and knees to relax the muscles and tendons surrounding the joints, use an ice pack to reduce swelling, and use a heating pad to gently flex the fingers and joints.