Psoriatic arthritis is a form of arthritis that affects some people who have psoriasis — a condition that features red patches of skin topped with silvery scales.
Most people develop psoriasis first and are later diagnosed with psoriatic arthritis, but the joint problems can sometimes begin before skin lesions appear.
Joint pain, stiffness, and swelling are the main symptoms of psoriatic arthritis. They can affect any part of your body, including your fingertips and spine, and can range from relatively mild to severe. in both psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis, disease flares may alternate with periods of remission.
No cure for psoriatic arthritis exists, so the focus is on controlling symptoms and preventing damage to your joints. Without treatment, psoriatic arthritis may be disabling.
Psoriatic arthritis is a particular type of inflammatory arthritis that affects roughly twenty percent of those suffering from the chronic skin condition called Psoriasis.
Psoriatic arthritis occurs much more frequently among those that have a particular tissue type. The tissue type most affected by psoriatic arthritis is HLA-B27.
For the most part, treatment of psoriatic arthritis is quite similar to the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis. Mostly treatment involves treating patients with anti-inflammatory drugs, though I believe that an advantage to natural medicine therapies is that the same relief is effected, yet that a deeper cause is more fully addressed as well.
For example, rubbing emu oil into the affected areas, brings anti-inflammatory medicine directly to the affected areas, particularly where the joints do not lie very deep beneath the skin’s surface.
it has been shown that a combination of emu oil applied topically, along with nutritional supplements of glucosamine, chondroitin and/or MSM, can keep arthritis very much under some semblance of control.
One of the more unique characteristics of psoriatic arthritis is that about eighty percent of those suffering from psoriatic arthritis will develop psoriatic nail lesions which are known by pitting of the nails or even the complete lack of a nail. When a person loses a whole nail, this is called onycholysis.
Of course, onycholysis is a very general term meaning simply disease or deformity of the nail. These can include everything from ingrown toenails to all kinds of odd and rare nail fungus and other deformities of the nails.
Psoriatic arthritis can develop at any age, yet the average age that psoriatic arthritis usually appears is about ten years after the first signs of psoriasis.
For most people with psoriatic arthritis, this condition makes an onset between the ages of thirty and fifty, yet it can occur in children and those of other ages as well.
Women and men seem to be pretty equally affected by psoriatic arthritis, whereas osteoarthritis affects nearly twice as many women as it does men. One in seven cases of psoriatic arthritis involves the arthritic symptoms occurring much earlier than any skin problems or skin involvement of the condition.
How Can Joint Injuries May Raise Risk For Psoriatic Arthritis
A new clinical study revealed that physical trauma increases the risk of psoriatic arthritis, especially in individuals who suffer from psoriasis.
it seems that twenty (20%) percent of individuals that suffer from psoriasis may also develop psoriatic arthritis (PSA). This condition causes pain and inflammation in and around smaller joints (usually the fingers and the toes).
Psoriatic arthritis is chronic arthritis that is directly associated with the skin condition known as psoriasis (dry, red, and itchy patches of skin that are accompanied with silver-colored scales), and it can lead to permanent joint damage.
According to research data, approximately 30% of individuals who have psoriasis develop psoriatic arthritis.
Joints become inflamed due to psoriatic arthritis, and this is due to an overactive immune system. This type of arthritis usually occurs in patients who have psoriasis (which is a skin condition that is also directly related to the human immune system).
Other main symptoms include stiffness and pain in the joints (usually the fingers). Pain is not steady, and it alternates between mild to severe. Often times, psoriatic arthritis is misdiagnosed as rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, or gout.
in many cases, in both psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis, the flare-ups of the disease come and go, and symptoms go into remission on a regular basis.
An extensive study, that covered the years 1995 to 2003 involved over 70 thousand patients and was conducted worldwide, but mainly in iceland and with Harvard researchers.
More than 15,000 suffered from some type of physical injury, and results showed, that from that number, at least 1,000 patient developed psoriatic arthritis.
Basically, the rate of psoriatic arthritis in patients, who incurred physical injury, showed 30 per every 10,000 patient. it showed, that patients who had a previous body injury, were more than 45% more likely to be at risk for psoriatic arthritis. Patients, that suffered a previous joint injury, upped their risk of psoriatic arthritis by fifty (50%) percent.
Minor physical trauma and the PSA connection is not a new revelation. For instance, skin doctors (dermatologists) have known that minor skin injuries (such as sunburn or a scrape) can possibly trigger new areas of psoriasis from emerging.
This is commonly known as, in the medical world, as the Koebner Phenomenon. it is now being suggested that joints can be affected with arthritis after an injury to the joint. The theory is being studied, in that the physical trauma to the bone or joint may throw the immune system out of whack, and cause the pain, swelling, and stiffness associated with PSA.
The total personal injury is not entirely possible, but if you have psoriasis, it is possible to modify your potential risk for psoriatic arthritis, by implementing the right treatment plan. Discuss available options with your dermatologist, and keep a close track of any changes that may occur in your symptoms.
This sizable study did prove that there is a link between previous bone injury and psoriatic arthritis; however, it was not designed to show a cause and effect relationship. The findings did highlight the fact, that more in-depth studies need to be conducted.
Both psoriatic arthritis and psoriasis are chronic diseases that get worse over time, but you may have periods when your symptoms improve or go into remission alternating with times when symptoms become worse.
Psoriatic arthritis can affect joints on just one side or on both sides of your body. The signs and symptoms of psoriatic arthritis often resemble those of rheumatoid arthritis. Both diseases cause joints to become painful, swollen and warm to the touch.
However, Psoriatic arthritis is More Likely To also Cause:
- Swollen Fingers and Toes. Psoriatic arthritis can cause a painful, sausage-like swelling of your fingers and toes. You may also develop swelling and deformities in your hands and feet before having significant joint symptoms.
- Foot Pain. Psoriatic arthritis can also cause pain at the points where tendons and ligaments attach to your bones — especially at the back of your heel (Achilles tendinitis) or in the sole of your foot (Plantar Fasciitis).
- Lower Back Pain. Some people develop a condition called spondylitis as a result of psoriatic arthritis. Spondylitis mainly causes inflammation of the joints between the vertebrae of your spine and in the joints between your spine and pelvis (Sacroiliitis).
When To see A Doctor
if you have psoriasis, be sure to tell your doctor if you develop joint pain. Psoriatic arthritis can severely damage your joints if left untreated.
Psoriatic arthritis occurs when your body’s immune system begins to attack healthy cells and tissue. The abnormal immune response causes inflammation in your joints as well as overproduction of skin cells.
It’s not entirely clear why the immune system turns on healthy tissue, but it seems likely that both genetic and environmental factors play a role. Many people with psoriatic arthritis have a family history of either psoriasis or psoriatic arthritis. Researchers have discovered certain genetic markers that appear to be associated with psoriatic arthritis.
Physical trauma or something in the environment — such as a viral or bacterial infection — may trigger psoriatic arthritis in people with an inherited tendency.
Here are Some of The Causes
Stress is the big one—the top factor implicated both in causing psoriatic arthritis to emerge for the first time and in triggering flares of existing disease.
“The number one thing patients tell me is that when stress levels go up, they have inflammation and a flare and more pain,”
Injuries To The Skin
Another big psoriatic arthritis trigger for flares is any type of injury to the skin, such as a cut, sunburn, or surgery. This is known as the Koebner phenomenon. “it’s the idea that when you have trauma, say a cut on your leg, you can get more psoriatic arthritis in that part of the body.
People with psoriatic arthritis have unusually high levels of systemic inflammation in their body as a result of the disease. An increase in inflammation related to injury may trigger inflammation elsewhere, such as the joints.
Adverse Effects Of Drugs
Several drugs that are commonly taken to treat other medical conditions may also be psoriatic arthritis triggers, although the link to psoriatic arthritis isn’t as clear.
Lithium, for instance, which is used to treat psychiatric disorders, aggravates psoriasis in about half of those with psoriasis who take it.
Anti-malaria drugs, including chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine, which may be prescribed for rheumatoid arthritis, may also trigger a bout of psoriasis a couple weeks after taking the drugs.
Inderal (propranolol), a beta-blocker used to treat high blood pressure and other conditions, such as tremors and anxiety, can worsen psoriasis in up to 30 percent of people. Quinidine, a heart medicine, has been reported to trigger some cases of psoriasis.
Alcohol And Inflammation
Alcohol can exert a pro-inflammatory effect that could trigger psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis.
A study published in November 2011 in the international Journal of Dermatology noted that evidence of the link between alcohol and psoriasis has been building in recent years. Although it’s still unclear whether alcohol use is a true risk factor for the disease, data suggests that drinking can exacerbate existing cases of psoriasis.
Diet — It Can Help and Hurt
No particular diet or food has been conclusively proven to trigger psoriatic arthritis. it’s difficult to study, in part, because of people’s inability to recall exactly what they ate. “it’s hard to pin down a particular nutrient.
There is also growing evidence that certain foods and nutrients may help prevent flares of psoriatic arthritis by fighting inflammation in the body.
Anti-inflammatory foods include omega-3 fatty acids found in some fish, flaxseed, olive oil, and walnuts. Colorful fruits and vegetables that contain high levels of antioxidants, like carrots, spinach, kale, broccoli, blueberries, and strawberries, also may have an anti-inflammatory effect.
There is no cure, but the best way to treat the symptoms is to control the inflammation. The course of treatment you choose will depend on the severity of the condition, and of course, what works for your particular situation. Some medications used to treat this type of chronic inflammation include, but are not limited to:
- NSAiDs (nonsteroidal drugs used specifically for inflammations)
- DMARDs (disease modifying anti-rheumatic drugs)
- Enzyme inhibitors
- Biologic drug
Exercise is an excellent way to make the muscles surrounding the joints stronger, and this, in turn, adds more protection to joints. Low-impact types of exercises are highly recommended, as they will increase the range of motion and reduce pain. An added benefit of regular exercise is that stress will be reduced, mental relaxation will increase, and overall quality of sleep will definitely be better.
Some other Ways To Manage The symptoms of Psoriatic arthritis and Protect Joint include:
- A hands-on type of therapies, such as massage and acupuncture.
- Cold and heat therapy.
- Devices used to assist movement that relieves pressure on the joints, such as a cane or a walker.
Without the aid of some type of treatment, psoriatic arthritis can become disabling for many patients, therefore, seeking treatment as soon as possible is encouraged to effectively manage psoriatic arthritis.
Psoriatic arthritis is a battle that many face each and every day. it really does not matter the reason why you developed this version of arthritis in the first place, what does matter is that you are ready to work cooperatively with your doctor in order to build a treatment plan that you can work with and one that is designed to give you the best level of health that you can enjoy.
Psoriatic arthritis does not have to be a harness around your neck, but it certainly will become one if you are passive about it. Get to it and educate yourself about your own health condition.
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