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Psoriatic arthritis


An active lifestyle is the greatest gift of youth. Then again, even young people can be crippled by the effects of rheumatic diseases. Arthritis, for example, commonly occurs in people beyond the age of 55. But there are some cases which involves people from different age groups as well.

As we already know, Arthritis pertains to a condition that affects the joints of the body. It has been proven the leading cause of disability in the elderly. Arthritis comes in different forms. Some occur simply as a result of aging while others can be brought about by joint infections and other irregularities. Psoriatic Arthritis is a less common form of Arthritis which does not choose age. It also happens equally frequent to men and women.

PSORIATIC ARTHRITIS SYMPTOMS

Unlike the common Arthritis, Psoriatic Arthritis carries both the symptoms of a joint inflammation and a skin disease. Psoriatic is derived from Psoriasis, which is a skin ailment characterized by scaly rashes that usually appears on the knees, on the elbows, and on the scalp.

PSORIATIC ARTHRITIS SIGNS

The early signs of Psoriatic Arthritis are swelling in and around the joints coupled with scaly rashes on the skin. The pain can be felt in the toes, ankles, knees, the lower back, the spine, fingers, wrists, elbows, and shoulders. The silvery or grey scales, meanwhile, can be found on the elbows, knees, and scalp. Aside from the joints itself, Psoriatic Arthritis can also be a burden on the tendons and the ligaments.

As mentioned above, Psoriatic Arthritis commonly occurs to both men and women, usually between the age of 20 and 50. Based on studies, 30% of patients who contracted Psoriasis are vulnerable to get Psoriatic Arthritis. Although Psoriasis can appear at any age, the Arthritis element of the disease comes in much later. In very few instances, Arthritis shows first and Psoriasis later.

PSORIATIC ARTHRITIS CAUSES

The cause of Psoriatic Arthritis is still not known but experts are eyeing heredity as a big player in its occurrence. If one of your parents has Psoriatic Arthritis, you are three times more vulnerable to get the disease. If you are part of a twin and your sibling has the disease, you have 75% chances of contracting it yourself. Other possible triggers of Psoriatic Arthritis include exposure to environmental changes or infection.

There are five different types of Psoriatic Arthritis. There’s the Symmetric type, which affects the joints of both sides of the body. The Asymmetric type is a milder one because it only involves not more than three joints and does not occur on both sides. Arthritis mutilans, meanwhile, is a more severe type that can cause deformation. Spondylitis is very similar to Symmetric Psoriatic Arthritis and is often characterized by stiffness in the spine and in the neck. Lastly, there’s the Distal interphalangeal predominant type, which mostly affects the fingers and the toes, marked by changes in the nails.

People who have Psoriatic Arthritis will find it hard to move around. The pain in the joints and in the tissues surrounding the joints is crippling. The fingers and toes become red and swell, looking much like sausages. The fingernails and toenails also lift up from the skin. The condition where the nails detach from the skin is called pitting. Stiffness and tiredness is also commonly felt by patients with Psoriatic Arthritis. The pain is usually present all-day but is worse at night and early morning. As the patient gets more active as the day progresses, the pain becomes manageable.
Psoriatic Arthritis
Image: Psoriatic Arthritis


Those symptoms may appear mildly while Psoriatic Arthritis develops slowly or severely as the disease progresses rapidly. In instances where more than five joints are affected, early detection and medication would be helpful to prevent severe joint damage.

Unfortunately, there is no absolute cure for Psoriatic Arthritis. Rheumatologists can do as much as to lessen the pain of their patients but not fix the problem completely. Treatments that are used to control the pain and maintain the patients’ movements and functions are mostly characterized by therapies. As always, immediate detection and correct diagnosis is helpful because therapies done while the disease is at its early stage work best.

PSORIATIC ARTHRITIS DIAGNOSIS

Correct diagnosis is usually achieved after a series of tests and physical examinations. Bone X-ray, blood tests, and joint fluid tests may be required to rule out other conditions that show off similar symptoms. Once it is confirmed that you have Psoriatic Arthritis indeed, you will be prescribed to undergo medications and therapies that are appropriate to your level of affliction. The treatments both involve your skin rashes and your Arthritis.

The first line of medication is directed to reduce the pain and control inflammation. NSAIDs or Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory drugs are used for such purpose. Although NSAIDs work astoundingly to lessen the pain, it cannot prevent further damage from happening. Patients who are suffering from a more severe form of Psoriatic Arthritis are usually given NSAIDs along with DMARDs or Disease-Modifying Anti-Rheumatic drugs to stop the disease from worsening. Corticosteroids, meanwhile, are seen applicable to those who have only few affected joints. The drug can be given through a needle but is also available in pill form. The most recent treatment that is found effective in battling the effects of Psoriatic Arthritis is a drug called Biologic Response Modifier or simply Biologic. This drug is a DMARD that’s made up of modified proteins based on the substances that naturally occur in the human body. The Biologics are used to block particular parts of the immune system that play a role in the development of Psoriatic Arthritis. Patients who do not respond to conventional treatments are the likely candidates for Biologics.

PSORIATIC ARTHRITIS TREATMENT

The medicines prescribed to treat Psoriatic Arthritis come with side effects. That is why it is best to conform with your doctor about the medications or therapies that are appropriate to your case. You will not want anything about your case to worsen.

Along with using the abovementioned medications to decrease inflammation, proper skin care must also be conducted. Talk to your dermatologist about certain skin treatments that you may undergo to minimize the effects of Psoriatic Arthritis in your physical appearance. Be cautious about the creams, soaps, and perfumes that you will be using. Make sure that they will not aggravate your rashes at the very least.

To free yourself from worry about contracting Psoriatic Arthritis, you must learn to get through each day in a healthy fashion. Do not strain your joints by doing excessive heavy works at a time. Always make sure that your arms, legs, and back are protected from stress. These measures are helpful to keep yourself active for a longer period of time. If you have been kind to your body long enough, it will repay you by letting you enjoy the privileges of youth even after you turn 60.

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