What is Psoriatic arthritis
Psoriatic arthritis is a type of arthritis that is related to psoriasis which is a skin disease triggered by an abnormal immune system which results in patches of red, dry, flaky skin with thick, silvery scales on the top. Psoriasis can develop on any part of the body such as knees, hips, knees, hands, elbows and back of body.
About 3 in 10 people who have psoriasis may eventually develop a form of arthritis called psoriatic arthritis.
Symptoms of Psoriatic Arthritis
Psoriatic arthritis symptoms include joint swelling, stiffness, and pain. The skin area on the joint is red and warm to the touch. Joints affected are commonly in the knees, feet, hands, fingers and lower back. However, it can affect other body organs such as the lungs, kidney, heart and eyes.
Psoriatic arthritis often affected the finger and toe nails, resulting in discoloured, pitted nails or separation of the nails from the nail bed. It is common to feel stiffness of the joints in the early morning which may last up to half an hour. Symptoms may last for days or weeks before going into remission.
What Causes Psoriatic Arthritis
Psoriatic arthritis is attributed to the chronic skin disorder psoriasis which causes the buildup of patches of thick, red and scaly skin. This skin disorder is believed to be genetic as it is common to have some members of the same family having the same condition. It is caused by new skin cells that grow faster than normal, in days rather than in weeks, and the layers of skin build up on the skin surface.
In some people with psoriasis, it leads to inflammation of the joints, resulting in psoriatic arthritis. This condition tends to develop from the age of 40 onwards.
Treatment for Psoriatic Arthritis
Psoriatic arthritis treatment would involve medications to relieve arthritis pain, reduce the joint inflammation and prevent joint destruction. NSAIDs (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) such as ibuprofen and naproxen are commonly used to reduce the inflammation and pain in the joints. However, NSAIDS can cause side effects such as dizziness, nausea, diarrhea and constipation. To a certain extend, these medications may also cause tinnitus (ringing in the ears), damage to the kidneys and increase the risk of strokes.
Another type of medication used is DMARDS (Disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs) such as sulfasalazine to control the damage to the joints. However, these type of medications are slow to work and may have side effects, including damage to the liver and kidney. In cases of severe joint damage, surgery may be implemented to correct joint deformation.