Know the signs of psoriatic arthritis.
Do you have psoriasis? Are your joints sore, stiff or swollen? Do you have aches and pains in different areas of the body from one day to the other? Well, you have a very good chance of having psoriatic arthritis.
Statistics say that if you have psoriasis or a family history of this disorder then you have a 30% chance of getting psoriatic arthritis. This type of arthritis can be serious and sometimes a physically debilitating disease. It has been known to deteriorate the joints in the fingers, toes, elbows knees to the point that you are not able to use them anymore, making you disabled.
What are the symptoms?
The symptoms are a lot like rheumatoid arthritis as far as the sore joints and swelling and the feeling of the area being hot to the touch. Psoriatic arthritis just like its skin psoriasis counter part does continue to get worse as time goes by. Symptoms will get worse and then get better from time to time before it gets severe. People that have nail psoriasis seem to be more at risk of getting arthritis.
- Toe and foot pain – Pain in the tendons where they connect to the bone can become painful as well as in the arch of the feet and heels.
- Elbows and knees – These are areas of the body that continually receive trauma from everyday use and continues, dull to sharp pain is not unusual especially where the ligaments connect to the bones.
- Lower back – some people get a condition in the lower back where the joints in between the vertebrae of your spine swell (Spondylitis), also the area where your spine and your pelvic bones connect (sacrolitis) swell and cause severe pain.
- Fingers – Expect sore, warm and swollen joints. Sever swelling in the finger s is common on this part of the body.
If you have psoriasis make sure you let your doctor know when you have joint pain. Your condition can start out slowly and then progress very fast and increase in its severity.
What causes it?
There is not any clear science to determine the cause. Genetics and environmental factors such as bacteria or viral variables seem to be the triggers that start your immune system to attack otherwise healthy cells and cause them to over produce themselves on the skin and in the joints.
How do diagnose it?
There is not one lone test that can be given to diagnose if you have psoriatic arthritis. You will need to take several tests to rule out other forms of joint pain like rheumatoid arthritis or gout first.
Your physician will run test like x-rays to view the condition of the joints. Draw blood to determine if you have rheumatoid arthritis. If these tests are negative another test will need to be done. This one they will withdraw fluid out of the joint in question and take out fluid to see if it has the indentify crystals that are in gout. If all the tests are negative it is assumed that you do have arthritis cause by psoriasis.
How do you treat it?
There is no cure for this disease the only alternative is to keep the swelling down and reduce the pain and from becoming disabled. Medications and treatments used to treat psoriatic arthritis include:
- Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) – These new psoriasis treatments are usually the first line of defense. These are include ibuprofen like Motron, Advil and others or naproxen, this is medicines such as Aleve, Anaprox, and others. These will help control your morning stiffness, selling of the joints and that pain associated with the arthritis.
- Disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs) – Methotrexate (Trexall), is the most commonly prescribed medication. This works slowly and actually slows the psoriatic damage. Serious side effects are associated with these drugs such as liver and kidney damage.
- Biological, Immunosuppressant medications – This latest psoriasis treatment is for the most serious cases of psoriatic arthritis due to the fact that this does suppress your immune system that protects you from all outside organisms that may attack your body.
- TNF-alpha inhibitors (tumor necrosis factor-alpha) – These medications block the proteins in the body that allow the swelling in some kinds of arthritis and they can help improve the symptoms of psoriasis. Make sure you know what you are getting into with these drugs they can be life threatening.
It is recommended that you seek out professional counseling when it comes to psoriatic arthritis the long term damage this can cause you outweighs you resisting assistance and not getting the help you need in the early stages of this disorder.