What Is Psoriatic Arthritis?
Psoriatic arthritis is an autoimmune disease that affects some psoriasis patients. Psoriasis is a fairly common condition of the skin that causes scaly red patches to appear almost anywhere on the body. Psoriatic arthritis is related to psoriasis, but the connection between the swelling and stiffness in joints to the skin condition has not been identified yet. According to psoriasis.org, 1 in 3 psoriasis patients will be afflicted with psoriatic arthritis.The reason why people develop psoriatic arthritis is not clear but it is known to be a form of autoimmune disease that causes the immune system to target healthy areas of the body to be targeted for attack. New research is showing that there is a genetic factor associated with the development of the condition. While psoriasis is usually the first to be diagnosed, it is thought that psoriatic arthritis is the first to affect the body. Occasionally patients who are in remission will see it painfully flare up again later. While there are always worst case scenarios, the majority of psoriatic arthritis cases are fairly mild.
Painful Arthritis Symptoms
As with most forms of arthritis, psoriatic arthritis is chronic and usually worsens as time goes on. Discouragingly, a patient who feels great and clear of the disease, may actually experience a flare up that is worse than the initial onset of the condition. In some cases, many joints can be affected by the disease; but in the worst cases the spine is involved. The pain and stiffness is similar to rheumatoid arthritis, with joints that feel hot and are swollen; most commonly the tips of the toes or fingers are what is affected. In many cases when a flare up of psoriasis occurs, it is accompanied by a worsening of psoriatic arthritis. Some of the more common symptoms are:
- Fingers or toes that feel like a sausage.
- Pain in Achilles tendon or the bottom of the foot
- Feet or hands that are deformed or swollen
- Pain in the lower back