Psoriatic Arthritis (PsA)


What is it?

Psoriatic arthritis is a chronic disease associated with psoriasis (inflammation of the skin) and arthritis (inflammation of the joints). Psoriasis is a systemic autoimmune disorder that is characterized by patchy, red areas of inflamed skin. Approximately 30% of patients with psoriasis develop associated inflammation of the joints; although psoriasis usually precedes psoriatic arthritis by months or years, it is possible for arthritis to occur first.

Who is at risk?

Psoriatic arthritis affects men and women equally and can occur at any age, though it appears most often between the ages of 30 and 50. Psoriasis sufferers are at risk of developing associated joint pain and, subsequently, psoriatic arthritis.

Symptoms

Common symptoms of psoriatic arthritis include:

  • Swollen, stiff, and painful joints in multiple parts of the body.
  • Back pain (due to inflamed spinal joints).
  • Pain in the ankles, feet, and other tendons.
  • Swelling of the fingers or toes.
  • Inflammation of the eyes.
  • Shortness of breath (caused by inflammation of the lungs)
  • Extreme fatigue.
  • Changes to the appearance of fingernails or toenails (such as pitting)

Symptoms can be intermittent with periods of remission.

Please note that the severity of psoriasis symptoms (such as scaly skin) does not determine the presence or predict the development of psoriatic arthritis.

Causes

The cause of psoriatic arthritis is currently unknown, though the disease may be attributed to a combination of genetic, immune, and environmental factors.

Diagnosis

Diagnosis of psoriatic arthritis is based on the presence of both psoriatic and arthritic symptoms.

sources: http://www.medicinenet.com/psoriatic_arthritis/article.htm#what_is_psoriatic_arthritis

 

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