Psoriatic arthritis is a form of joint disease that occurs in people who have psoriasis, a skin condition that causes redness, pain, swelling and silvery, scaly patches to form around the affected area.
The joint deterioration leading to arthritis is likely to exist prior to a diagnosis of psoriasis but usually does not show its symptoms until later, which is the reason some believe the psoriasis happens first. In either case, the fact remains that no correlation exists between the two diseases, as one does not cause the other, though having both simultaneously does enhance symptoms.
In addition to the typical arthritis symptoms of pain and swelling, psoriatic arthritis often presents with characteristics that are more specific and definitive of the type of condition from which you are suffering. For instance:
1. One type of this disease is Spondylitis, or inflammation between the spine’s vertebrae, and sacrolitis, inflammation between the pelvic joint and your spine, both of which result in lower back pain.
2. Painful swelling in the toes and fingers, as well as deformities in these extremities, occurs in a type of psoriatic arthritis known as Arthritis mutilans and may even appear prior to the actual joint disease.
3. A third type, Distal interphalangeal predominant, or DIP, affects the finger and toe joints closest to the nail, which also undergoes changes, and occurs in approximately five percent of people with psoriasis and arthritis.
4. Asymmetric arthritis is the fourth type and can affect any number of joints, though the symptoms tend to be mild and responsive to medical treatment.
5. The fifth and final type, Symmetric arthritis, is almost the same as asymmetric arthritis with the key difference being that in this form, the affected joint is the same on both sides of the body.
In addition to these specific types of arthritis present in those with psoriasis, your doctor can also diagnose this disease if you experience chronic pain in your feet, particularly in the heel or sole since stretching and use of the tendons and ligaments in this area is so frequent. Although this symptom has no medical term and does not relate to a particular type, it is still a key sign of arthritis in people with psoriasis.
You may think it is bad enough that psoriasis and arthritis already coexist but unfortunately, other health problems can arise from simultaneously having these conditions.
Due to the nature of psoriatic arthritis, it is quite common for you to experience anemia, a condition in which your red blood cell count is low or the cells change shape, either of which can cause their own set of health issues.
To prevent this ailment from occurring, talk to your doctor about monitoring your blood iron level, as well as ways to increase this element and vitamin B12 in your diet. You should also try to increase your oxygen intake through breathing techniques, yoga or exercise.
Scientists are not quite clear as to the underlying cause for other comorbidities, like diabetes and high cholesterol, but if you have this condition, your odds of acquiring these other diseases do increase.
You may also be prone to high blood pressure, fatigue, becoming obese and mood changes, such as anger, depression, fear or hopelessness. It is important to discuss any of these feelings with your primary care provider and to go for regular checkups so you can catch any medical problems early on and begin treating them immediately.
Psoriatic arthritis is not a condition anyone wants but it also is not the worst disease you can have, as it is not life threatening and pain management helps to alleviate or eliminate this bothersome symptom. If you take care of yourself, are proactive in your treatment and learn the various methods for minimizing symptoms, you can enjoy a healthy, active life.
Common Locations Impacted by Psoriasis-Related Arthritis
Hand Arthritis - may have include nail involvement, as well as inflammation and swelling in and around the hand and finger joints.
Spinal Arthritis - can lead to severe pain and restricted mobility that creates a challenge to maintain a good quality of life.
Back Arthritis - Treatments can help to reduce or even eliminate pain, as well as maintain the ability to function in every day life.
Cervical Arthritis - also known as neck arthritis or cervical spondylosis, is a medical condition that affects the upper portion of the spine.
Elbow Arthritis - Living with elbow arthritis can be a challenge, especially during flare-ups, as you need this part of your body to perform many daily tasks, for strength and also support.