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Psoriatic Arthritis is a condition that is a part of a group of conditions that are Arthritis. Arthritis means inflammation of the joints, and Psoriatic Arthritis gives rise to pain, stiffness, swelling in the joints, and skin manifestations, i.e., reddish patches on elbows, knees, etc. It usually affects people between 20-30 years. Typically it involves at least three or more fingers or toes in psoriasis & at least one joint beyond the wrist or ankle in psoriatic Arthritis affecting approximately4% – 5%of all adults. Often patients mistake their symptoms for other rheumatological disorders such as Reiter’s syndrome, lupus erythematosus, or gouty Arthritis.
What is Psoriatic Arthritis?
Psoriatic Arthritis (PsA) is an inflammatory type of arthritis that occurs in people with psoriasis. Psoriasis is a skin condition that causes cells to build up rapidly on the skin’s surface, creating patches of thick, silvery-white scales. If you have psoriasis, you can develop joint inflammation (Arthritis) at the site where your skin disease first appeared or at another joint, such as your spine or knees.
What are the causes of Psoriatic Arthritis?
- Autoimmune disorder: It is said that psoriasis and psoriatic Arthritis have an autoimmune disease behind its cause. The immune system mistakenly attacks the joints; it may also damage other organs.
- Hereditary: Genetic factors play a role in developing this condition, as reported by certain studies conducted worldwide. A family history of psoriatic Arthritis is known to increase an individual’s risk.
- Unknown Etiology: In some people, the exact cause for this condition remains unknown.
- Environmental factors: Smoking, psoriasis treatments such as UV light therapy, and anti-TNFs can increase the risk of PsA development.
Who is all at higher risk to get Psoriatic Arthritis?
People at higher risk of Psoriatic Arthritis include:
- People with psoriasis.
- People with a family history of psoriatic arthritis, psoriasis, or inflammatory bowel disease.
What are the symptoms of Psoriatic Arthritis?
Psoriatic Arthritis can cause joint pain, stiffness, and swelling, especially in the hands and feet. The joints most often affected are those closest to where psoriasis appears on your body, such as the knuckles of your fingers or toes. If you have more than one joint affected beyond your wrists or ankles, you may have a form of Arthritis called peripheral spondyloarthritis.
Skin symptoms are common in people with Psoriatic Arthritis. These signs include red, scaly, swollen, warm to the touch, and covered with white scales. Skin symptoms can appear before joint symptoms; sometimes, skin symptoms come and go while psoriatic Arthritis progresses slowly over the years. Occasionally, psoriatic Arthritis is the only sign of the disease.
Psoriatic Arthritis can cause stiffness in joints. Paralysis occurs most often in the morning but can also occur later in the day. Stiffness occurs when your joints are inflamed, which makes it difficult to move them, or the joint is injured.
Swelling (Bumps) on Joints
Psoriatic Arthritis can cause bumps to develop on your skin or joints. These bumps are called nodules and typically appear around the toes, fingers, ankles, knees, elbows, and wrists. They rarely affect your spine. If you have this type of psoriatic arthritis, it is essential to see your doctor regularly so that treatment can prevent or slow its progression. Nodules may disappear without treatment, although they may never go away entirely if you have a chronic form of Psoriatic Arthritis. In some people with Psoriatic arthritis, the disease progresses from the above symptoms to a more deadly form of Arthritis, leading to changes in bone or loss of joint function.
People with psoriatic arthritis often experience fatigue. This is because the disease can affect your whole body, not just your joints. Fatigue prevails even after adequate rest and worsens over time. You may feel more tired than usual or develop new sleep patterns that include insomnia, excessive sleepiness or early morning awakening, difficulty falling back to sleep at night, and waking up too early in the morning. Your fatigue will improve once your psoriatic arthritis symptoms are under control.
Weight Loss (Unexplained)
Loss of appetite is common among people with Psoriatic Arthritis, but weight loss can also occur. This is because people typically eat less when their arthritis symptoms are severe or lose interest in eating. Weight loss may also happen if you do not eat enough calories to compensate for increased energy demands caused by your psoriatic Arthritis.
Changes in Joint Motion
You may notice changes in the way you move your joints. You may feel stiffness or tightness as you move, or your movement can become limited. Stiffness is joint among people with Psoriatic Arthritis and may worsen during the winter months, but it occurs even without cold temperatures. If you have damage to bone tissue, this can cause hypermobility (joint instability), which is marked by abnormal joint motion that makes affected areas more likely to dislocate (come out of place).
Red or Dark Lines on Your Skin
People with psoriasis often experience red or dark lines on their skin, known as erythema nodosum. Erythema nodosum occurs when there is inflammation in your fat cells under your skin, which leads to lumps that range from one-quarter of an inch to six inches wide. Psoriatic Arthritis causes erythema nodosum more often than it does not, so this symptom should be considered if you have skin or nail psoriasis.
Why is it hard to diagnose psoriatic Arthritis?
Psoriatic Arthritis can be difficult to diagnose because the symptoms frequently mimic other forms of inflammatory arthritis like rheumatoid and osteoarthritis. Furthermore, there are many types and variations of psoriasis, some more benign than others. Since people with psoriatic Arthritis usually have both Arthritis and skin involvement, it may take several visits to your doctor to confirm your diagnosis.
What are the complications of Psoriatic Arthritis?
- Cancer: Cancer is a complication of Psoriatic Arthritis, which occurs when the disease causes tumors in your body. One study found that about four percent of people with psoriatic Arthritis will develop cancer within ten years of having the disease. This risk may be higher for men and people whose psoriasis wasn’t treated or resistant to treatment before their diagnosis with Psoriatic Arthritis. Lymphomas associated with psoriatic Arthritis tend to appear in the gastrointestinal tract, lungs, urinary bladder, and soft tissues surrounding joints.
- Heart Disease: People with psoriasis and rheumatoid arthritis are at an increased risk of heart disease than other adults without chronic illnesses. Psoriatic Arthritis increases this risk even further due to its impact on the cardiovascular system. People with psoriatic arthritis are more likely to develop coronary artery disease, which increases their risk of heart attack, heart failure, and death from heart disease.
- Mental Health Disorders: There is a strong association between psoriasis, psoriatic arthritis, and depression. More than 50 percent of people with psoriasis have some symptoms of depression, while 20 percent of adults with clinical depression also have signs of psoriasis. One study found that 30 – 40 percent of people on long-term treatment for Psoriatic Arthritis had depressive symptoms. Researchers believe these mental health disorders are partly due to the physical limitations associated with having an inflammatory condition that affects your entire body, inability to perform self-care tasks, and the frustrating experience of caring for your family’s needs.
- Organ Damage:Psoriatic Arthritis can damage organs in your body, including your eyes, kidneys, heart, and lungs. If people with Psoriatic Arthritis have no other complications, this organ damage is rare, but it can be severe if you also have heart disease or diabetes. It may also cause problems with wound healing.
- Crohn’s Disease: People with Psoriatic Arthritis with erythrodermic psoriasis skin are more likely to develop Crohn’s disease. Erythrodermic psoriasis is characterized by a severe form of psoriasis that results in a red, peeling, and inflamed skin rash.
- Diabetes: People with Psoriatic arthritis are at a higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Having psoriasis and psoriatic Arthritis puts you at risk of insulin resistance and prediabetes, which can turn into full-blown type 2 diabetes over time.
- Anxiety: It is known that mental health disorders like anxiety and depression are common among people with chronic conditions such as inflammatory Arthritis, but less is known about the relationship between psoriasis and anxiety. However, one study found that people with certain types of psoriasis (such as erythrodermic or pustular) had more symptoms of stress than others who did not have these conditions. Researchers believe this could be due to their increased use of health care services or the severe itching and discomfort that people with these conditions experience.
- Arthritis Flare-Ups:Psoriatic Arthritis can cause flares or periods when your symptoms are worse than usual. This may be due to various factors, including changes in the weather, stress, infections, or even a change in season. Flares may last for a few days or weeks, depending on their severity and what caused them. If you have psoriatic arthritis, it’s essential to keep track of any medications you take so you can predict how they might affect your flares.
- Metabolic disorders: People with Psoriatic arthritis are at an increased risk of having metabolic syndrome, a group of conditions such as obesity, high blood pressure, elevated blood sugar, and abnormal cholesterol levels that increase your risk for heart disease and diabetes.
- Vision Disorders:There is a strong association between psoriatic Arthritis and eye conditions such as uveitis, iritis, keratitis, and scleritis. These conditions can cause blurry vision, trouble with night vision, or eye pain. Some forms of psoriasis may contribute to vision problems such as eye dryness, infections, or other conditions that cloud your vision. If you have active lesions around your eyes, this can also trigger this type of vision loss.
- Joint Damage: Psoriatic Arthritis can cause permanent damage to your joints as they age. In most cases, the bones and tendons around a joint can compensate for wear and tear on the actual joint. Still, people with Psoriatic arthritis may experience pain and stiffness in their joints from bone overgrowth (called enthesopathy), which can be very painful. As this damage progresses and your physical function and quality of life decrease, doctors may consider surgery (such as a knee replacement) or other artificial remedies such as prosthetics or splints.
- Gout: A goutis a form of inflammatory arthritis that can cause sudden and severe pain, tenderness, and redness in your joints. Uric acid crystals cause it from the breakdown of purines, which are natural substances found in all cells. In people with psoriatic arthritis or psoriasis, gout flares tend to be triggered by certain medications such as diuretics (water pills) and chemotherapy drugs used to treat cancer. Psoriatic Arthritis may also make you more likely to develop gout over time.
When to visit a doctor for Psoriatic Arthritis?
If you’re experiencing any of the symptoms mentioned above, see your doctor. It’s essential to be diagnosed and evaluated by a medical professional as soon as possible because psoriatic Arthritis can cause permanent damage over time. Your doctor will likely perform a physical exam, including checking for tenderness, swelling, or redness in your joints. They may also ask about specific pains you experience at night or when you wake up in the morning. Depending on your initial diagnosis, they may also order imaging tests such as MRIs, X-rays, or CT scans to check for structural problems with your joints.
Homeopathic treatment for Psoriatic Arthritis:
Homeopathy is a medical system that treats the whole person. It focuses on your specific symptoms and personal experience with any condition—not just your lab test results or diagnosis—to determine the appropriate remedy to alleviate your suffering. More than 2500 homeopathic remedies exist, most of which can be taken by mouth (although there are some remedies available in suppository form). When choosing one for you, your homeopath will consider your constitutional type (physical, mental and emotional makeup) as well as all of your individualized symptoms to find the best remedy to give you relief. Although it’s impossible to say precisely what treatment would help without examining you first, you must visit a registered homeopahty doctor for detailed information. You can book an appointment through OHO Homeopathy now!