Posted September 10, 2022 by Anusha ‐ 2 min read
Psoriatic arthritis is a form of inflammatory arthritis. It affects about 1 million people in the United States, or 30% of people who have psoriasis. Psoriasis is a skin disease that causes a red, scaly rash, most often on your elbows, knees, ankles, feet, and hands.
Causes of Psoriatic Arthritis
Having a parent with psoriasis triples your chance of getting psoriasis and makes you more likely to have psoriatic arthritis.
An infection that sets off your immune system could be to blame. Psoriasis, for example, is often triggered by strep throat.
Symptoms of Psoriatic Arthritis
Swollen fingers and toes
Lower back pain
Swelling and pain around tendons
Stiffness and tiredness in the morning
Less range of motion
Eye redness and pain
Scaly skin, especially on your knees, elbows, and scalp
Diagnosis of Psoriatic Arthritis
Imaging tests such as X-rays, MRIs, CT scans, and ultrasounds
Blood tests to rule out other kinds of arthritis and look for signs of inflammation
Tests of the fluid from your joints or tiny samples of skin
Treatment of Psoriatic Arthritis
Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)
These are over-the-counter medications like ibuprofen and naproxen.
Disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs)
These can slow or stop pain, swelling, and joint and tissue damage. If NSAIDs don’t work, your doctor will try DMARDs
They may take longer to work.
If you can’t take a DMARD, you might get a type of drug called an immunosuppressant.
These drugs curb your immune system, which is what’s causing the problem in an autoimmune condition like PsA.
But they can also make it more likely that you’ll get an infection.
Therapy with UVA light can ease skin symptoms in people who have severe psoriasis. But it may also raise your chances of skin cancer.
If immune suppression doesn’t work, your doctor may prescribe a biologic. These are a newer type of DMARD. Rather than weaken your entire immune system, these medications block a protein that causes inflammation.
This works by blocking a certain enzyme, a kind of protein, called PDE-4. That helps slow other reactions that lead to inflammation.
These can help control inflammation, but doctors don’t use them often for PsA because they can make your skin rash worse.
Doctors prescribe steroids only when you really need them.
If you use them for a long time, you could have serious side effects such as brittle bones, weight gain, hypertension, and diabetes.
A severely damaged joint can be replaced with a new one made from metal and plastic.