Understanding Psoriatic Arthritis

Psoriatic arthritis is a type of arthritis that affects some people suffering from a skin condition called psoriasis. Psoriatic arthritis may develop as a secondary condition to the serious skin condition although there are some people who might develop it before skin lesions may appear.

Causes of psoriatic arthritis

Psoriatic arthritis is caused by a skin condition known as psoriasis which is characterized by a rapid buildup of dead skin cells that form into thick red scaly patches in the body. This condition is caused by an abnormal immune reaction, where the immune cells begin to attack healthy cells and tissue instead of fighting harmful organisms. This immune response leads to an overproduction of skin cells that may also cause the inflammation of the joints.

Symptoms of psoriatic arthritis

General symptom associated with psoriatic arthritis include pain and swollen joints. There have been different types of psoriatic arthritis identified depending on the joints that they seem to affect. Psoriatic arthritis is a chronic disease that may grow worse over time.

How psoriatic arthritis is diagnosed?

Diagnosis of psoriatic arthritis may involve taking a number of tests. This would include X-rays to check changes in the joints. A joint fluid test may also be taken to check for uric crystals in the joint fluid that may indicate gout rather than psoriatic arthritis. Blood tests may also be taken to check for things like rheumatoid factor or RF that can be found in people with rheumatoid arthritis and not for people with psoriatic arthritis.

How to treat psoriatic arthritis?

There is currently no cure for psoriatic arthritis. The available treatment aims to bring down the joint swelling in order to relieve joint pain. Medications for treatment include non steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs or NSAID’s, corticosteroids, immunosuppressant medications and disease modifying antiheumatic drugs or DMARD’s.