Psoriatic Arthritis

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Psoriatic arthritis is a type of arthritis that is brought about by psoriasis. It is characterized by pain, stiffness and swelling around the joints and in areas where tissues link up or connect to the bone. It is a type of arthritis that usually follows or goes along with psoriasis. If left without the necessary treatment, psoriatic arthritis can be potentially disabling to those afflicted by it.

Causes Of Psoriatic Arthritis
Psoriatic arthritis is usually associated with both genetic and environmental factors. Medical experts believe that the immune system plays a significant role in this condition, particularly on psoriasis itself. Psoriasis arthritis is closely linked to psoriasis of the skin which usually precedes it.

Types Of Psoriatic Arthritis
There are various known types of psoriatic arthritis. There is the symmetric form which affects multiple symmetric pairs of joints, meaning they affect the same pair of joints from both sides of the body. There is also the oligoparticular form which only affect a certain joint without affecting the other joint similar to it on the other side of the body. This form of psoriatic arthritis is usually milder.

There is also the distal interphalangal form which usually affects the distal joints on the toes and the fingers. These joints are those that are closest to the nails. Spondylitis is a form of psoriatic arthritis that affects the joints in the spinal column ranging from the neck down to the lower back. Arthritis mutilans is another form of arthritis that usually affects the small joints of the hands and feet. This form of arthritis is known to become severe and disabling.

Psoriatic Arthritis Symptoms
Similar to the more common arthritis, psoriatic arthritis is also characterized by having tender and swollen joints. There is also swelling and tenderness on the entheses, the area where the ligament or muscle attaches to the bone. Some people with psoriatic arthritis may also experience back pain and a reduced range of motion due to the swelling.

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Certain nail changes such as nails becoming pitted or separating from the nail bed may also be another symptom. Some people may feel joint stiffness especially during the morning as well as generalized fatigue. Some may also experience some redness and pain on the tissues that surround the eyes.

Psoriatic Arthritis Diagnosis
Diagnosis for psoriatic arthritis is usually based on evaluating the symptoms along with physical examination of the patient along with the different laboratory tests. There is no specific test used to diagnose the condition. Doctors usually diagnose psoriatic arthritis after eliminating other possible conditions.

Psoriatic Arthritis Treatments
There are various ways in which doctors may treat psoriatic arthritis. Drugs used to treat this condition are divided into three main categories. There are the nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs or NSAID?s that may help reduce the inflammation of the joints as well as the pain caused by the condition. Drugs in this category include over the counter medication such as ibuprofen and aspirin.

Disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs or DMARD?s are drugs that may help relieve the more severe symptoms of psoriatic arthritis. These drugs may also help slow down or even stop joint damage as well as the progression of psoriatic arthritis. Biologics also fall into the category of DMARD?s.

Biologic drugs such as adalimumab, etanercept, and infliximab usually target specific parts of the immune system that cause psoriatic arthritis.

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