General or Other | Rheumatology | Psoriatic arthritis (Disease)
Psoriatic arthritis (also arthritis psoriatica, arthropathic psoriasis or psoriatic arthropathy) is a type of inflammatory arthritis that will develop in up to 30 percent of people who have the chronic skin condition psoriasis. Psoriatic arthritis is said to be a seronegative spondyloarthropathy and therefore occurs more commonly in patients with tissue type HLA-B27.
Common symptoms of psoriatic arthritis include: pain, swelling, or stiffness in one or more joints, joints that are red or warm to the touch, sausage-like swelling in the fingers or toes, known as dactylitis, pain in and around the feet and ankles, especially tendinitis in the Achilles tendon or Plantar fasciitis in the sole of the foot, changes to the nails, such as pitting or separation from the nail bed, pain in the area of the Sacrum (the lower back, above the tailbone).
Along with the above noted pain and inflammation, there is extreme exhaustion that does not go away with adequate rest. The exhaustion lasts for days to weeks without abatement. Psoriatic arthritis may remain mild, or may progress to more destructive joint disease. Periods of active disease, or flares, will typically alternate with periods of remission.
Causes and Risk factors
Psoriatic arthritis occurs when the bodys immune system begins to attack healthy cells and tissue. The abnormal immune response causes inflammation in the joints as well as overproduction of skin cells. Its not entirely clear why the immune system turns on healthy tissue, but it seems likely that both genetic and environmental factors play a role.
Many people with psoriatic arthritis have a family history of either psoriasis or psoriatic arthritis. Researchers have discovered certain genetic markers that appear to be associated with psoriatic arthritis. Physical trauma or something in the environment — such as a viral or bacterial infection — may trigger psoriatic arthritis in people with an inherited tendency.
Diagnosis and Treatment
No single test can confirm a diagnosis of psoriatic arthritis. But some types of tests can rule out other causes of joint pain, such as rheumatoid arthritis or gout. No cure exists for psoriatic arthritis, so treatment focuses on controlling inflammation in your affected joints to prevent joint pain and disability.