Psoriatic Arthritis
Symptoms, Causes, Treatments, Questions & Related Topics

Possible Symptoms for Psoriatic Arthritis

Psoriatic arthritis causes widespread joint pain and inflammation. Common symptoms of psoriatic arthritis include:[1]

Psoriatic arthritis also causes a red, scaly rash. This rash can appear anywhere, although it's particularly common on your elbows, knees, ankles, feet, and hands. Symptoms can appear on one or both sides of your body.

Joints affected by psoriatic arthritis are often tender and warm to the touch. In some cases, your joints may also swell and cause visible deformities in your hands and feet.

Some people with psoriatic arthritis notice that their symptoms disappear for a while. This period is known as remission, but symptoms usually return and become worse over time.

Top 4 Psoriatic Arthritis Causes

Psoriatic arthritis is an autoimmune condition.[1] Autoimmune conditions develop when your body's immune system attacks healthy tissue. This immune system response can trigger pain, swelling, and a sensation of heat in your joints. Doctors are not sure what causes psoriatic arthritis, but they have identified some risk factors.

1. Genetic factors

Some people seem genetically predisposed to certain autoimmune conditions. Family history can play a significant role. If many people in your family have autoimmune diseases, you may develop one too. One study indicated that up to 40% of people diagnosed with psoriatic arthritis have a family history of skin or joint disease.[2]

2. Environmental factors

Environmental factors also seem to affect your odds of developing psoriatic arthritis. Sometimes, an illness or injury may trigger autoimmune diseases. Some people with psoriatic arthritis report that their symptoms began shortly after experiencing a serious illness.[2]

3. Age

You can develop psoriatic arthritis at any age, but people between the ages of 30 and 50 are at the highest risk of developing this condition.[1]

4. Psoriasis

Psoriasis is a skin condition that causes a thick, flaky rash. The rash is often a deep red and covered with silvery scales. Like psoriatic arthritis, psoriasis is an autoimmune condition. Only about 10-30% of people with psoriasis go on to develop psoriatic arthritis, but having psoriasis increases your risk of developing psoriatic arthritis.[2]

Ways to Prevent Psoriatic Arthritis

There is no known method for preventing psoriatic arthritis. However, your doctor can help you learn how to manage your condition and reduce your risk of future outbreaks.

Taking your prescribed medications can lower your chances of experiencing future outbreaks. You can also protect your health by following these guidelines:[2]

  • Wear sunscreen
  • Avoid injuring your skin
  • Manage your stress
  • Get plenty of sleep
  • Maintain a healthy weight

Infections, injuries, and psychological stress can all trigger psoriatic arthritis outbreaks. Your doctor can help you develop a healthy lifestyle plan that lowers your risk of injury or illness.[2]

Possible Psoriatic Arthritis Treatment Options

1. Pain medications

Pain medication can help relieve joint pain and swelling. Depending on the severity of your symptoms, your doctor may suggest over-the-counter drugs or prescription pain medications.[3] If you use over-the-counter pain medications, tell your doctor which drugs you're taking and what dosage you use. Don't combine pain medications or increase your dose without your doctor's permission. 

2. Disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs)

DMARDs work to slow the progressions of psoriatic arthritis. These drugs can help protect your joints and prevent future damage, but they can sometimes cause liver damage. If your doctor prescribes DMARDs, you may need regular blood tests to ensure that your body is tolerating the drugs.[4]

3. Immunosuppressants

Immunosuppressants are medications that help calm your immune system. These drugs can help reduce psoriatic arthritis symptoms and prevent outbreaks, but they may increase your risk of developing serious infections. Your doctor can provide you with more information about the risks and benefits of these drugs.[4]

Questions Your Doctor May Ask About Psoriatic Arthritis Treatment:

  • When did your symptoms begin?
  • Did you recently develop a cold, flu, or bacterial infection?
  • Have you ever been diagnosed with an autoimmune condition?
  • Does your family have a history of arthritis?
  • Are you experiencing any lower back pain?
  • What pain-relief treatments do you currently use?

Psoriatic Arthritis May Also Be Known as:

  • Arthritis psoriatica
  • Arthropathic psoriasis
  • Psoriatic arthropathy

References

  1. Mayo Clinic. Psoriatic arthritis: Symptoms & causes. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/psoriatic-arthritis/symptoms-causes/syc-20354076
  2. WebMD. Psoriatic arthritis. https://www.webmd.com/arthritis/psoriatic-arthritis/psoriatic-arthritis-the-basics#1
  3. Mayo Clinic. Psoriatic arthritis: Diagnosis & treatment. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/psoriatic-arthritis/diagnosis-treatment/drc-20354081
  4. National Psoriasis Foundation. About psoriatic arthritis. https://www.psoriasis.org/psoriatic-arthritis/treatments

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