Psoriatic Arthritis – What is It?

What is psoriatic arthritis? Psoriasis is a skin condition that affects 2% of the population. About 10% of those who have psoriasis may eventually develop an arthritis which is, as part of the course of the psoriatic skin condition, called psoriatic arthritis.

Psoriatic arthritis is a chronic destructive arthritic condition, which, if left untreated, may eventually lead to joint destruction. Psoriatic arthritis is thought to be an autoimmune process, in which the body mounts an immunogenic response against self, which results in widespread inflammation and destruction.

What are the symptoms of psoriatic arthritis? Psoriatic arthritis can affect any joints in the body, with predilection for larger joints in arms and feet and also smaller joints in the hand.

Symptom

Are your aches and pains just a natural part of growing older, or are they a sign there is something more serious wrong with your body? While some forms of arthritis are just the result of the aging process, some forms can wreak havoc on more than just the joints. Other forms actually result from the body’s immune system turning on itself. How can you tell if your joint pain is natural aging or if something else is wrong? Knowing the symptoms of different forms of arthritis can help you know if a pain reliever is all you need, or if your specific arthritis symptom is a sign there is more wrong than just joint pain.

The most common form of arthritis is known as osteoarthritis. Osteoarthritis is the form of arthritis generally associated with growing older. This condition results from the natural aging process in which the cartilage, a rubbery substance that protects the joints, begins to wear down. The arthritis symptom most often associated with this form of the disease is joint pain. This joint pain can also be accompanied by fever and swelling in the affected joints as well as stiffness in the morning or after times of inactivity.

Psoriatic Arthritis Treatment

Doctors currently believe that psoriatic arthritis is an autoimmune function of the body. That means that the body actually turns against itself and uses its immune system to fight itself. This leads to both inflammation of and damage to the joints. Due to the seriousness of this condition, people need to inform themselves about the symptoms related to it and look out for them.

One of the first damaging effects that psoriatic arthritis has on the body is joint impairment, especially to the larger joints of the body such as those in the feet and arms. This does not mean that smaller joints in the hands, for example, will not be affected. Once the joints of the fingers begin to be effected and the fingers swell up, the condition is almost certainly psoriatic arthritis. The disease can also affect the fingernails, thickening and discoloring them.

The above mentioned symptoms of psoriatic arthritis tend to come and go, having times when they flare up and are especially bad followed by periods of light to moderate symptoms. In some rare cases, the spine is also affected by psoriatic arthritis. The pain and discomfort associated with this disease can be anywhere from mild to chronic.