The pain and stress of managing psoriatic arthritis can take a serious toll on an individual’s well-being. Pain, swelling, and stiffness will make many everyday activities difficult, especially if the proper treatment is not found early on. Luckily, there are a range of available strategies to effectively deal with the condition and still live a full life. It is all about arming yourself with the right information and making the right decisions.
What is Psoriatic Arthritis?
Psoriatic arthritis is an autoimmune condition like psoriasis. It occurs when your body’s immune system attacks the healthy tissue and cells by mistake--in this case the skin and joints. Around 6% to 42% of individuals with psoriasis are likely to develop psoriatic arthritis.
Unlike other autoimmune illnesses, men and women aged 30 and 55 are equally at high risk for developing this painful condition. Early recognition of the disease may help limit or prevent extensive damage in the joint and tissue, which happens in later stages of psoriatic arthritis.
Difference Between Rheumatoid Arthritis and Psoriatic Arthritis
Psoriatic arthritis is commonly mistaken as rheumatoid arthritis (RA), because the symptoms are similar. The major differences between the two chronic conditions are the distribution of affected joints and the occurrence of skin lesions. Psoriatic arthritis is usually an asymmetrical disorder and affects different joints, while RA is symmetrical.
Types of Psoriatic Arthritis
There are five different types of psoriatic arthritis. Whether it is psoriatic arthritis in hands or psoriatic arthritis in cervical spine, it is essential to understand elderly psoriatic arthritis onset so that your condition may be treated properly.
Psoriatic Arthritis Mutilans
This is believed to be the most severe type of psoriatic arthritis. Psoriatic arthritis mutilans mainly affects the small joints in the toes and fingers, causing loss of function. Constant pain in fingers and sausage toes, psoriatic arthritis mutilans is a destructive and deforming disease. It is also frequently associated with psoriatic arthritis lower back pain and neck pain.
Psoriatic Arthritis Spine
Also known as spondylitis, psoriatic arthritis spine causes stiffness and inflammation in the pelvic area (sacroiliac region), lower back, neck, and spinal vertebrae. This type of psoriatic arthritis may attack connective tissue as well, which leads to a reduced range of motion. In most cases of psoriatic arthritis, back pain is the common complaint. Spondylitis, can also affect the joints of the feet, legs, hips, or arms.
What Causes Psoriatic Arthritis?
The faulty immune response caused by psoriatic arthritis leads to overproduction of skin cells and inflammation in the joints. While the exact cause of psoriatic arthritis causes is not known, researchers found that both environmental and genetic factors play a significant role. Also, it is believed that bacterial infection or physical trauma may trigger psoriatic arthritis in nails and other parts of the body.
The major factors that can increase your risk of developing the chronic disease are age, family history, and psoriasis. Other triggers include sunlight, HIV, smoking, alcohol, drugs, emotional stress, streptococcal infections, and injury to the skin.
Psoriatic Arthritis Symptoms
Psoriatic arthritis symptoms may affect any part of the body, and is commonly found in the spine and fingertips. Psoriatic arthritis flare up symptoms can vary from mild to severe. Typically, joint pain and stiffness are the main early signs of psoriatic arthritis. However, it can also cause:
- Constant lower back pain
- Stabbing foot pain
- Sausage-like swelling of toes and fingers
- Changes to nails
- Deformities in feet and hands
- Fatigue and morning stiffness
- Patches of itchy, red skin
- Swelling and redness in the eye
- Thick gray or silver scaly patches of skin
When to See a Psoriatic Arthritis Doctor
In rare cases of psoriatic arthritis, fever can occur. If you are suffering from psoriasis, it is best to let your doctor know right away if you develop joint pain. You may be referred to a psoriatic arthritis specialist to properly treat symptoms.
Psoriatic Arthritis Diagnosis
Early and accurate psoriatic arthritis diagnosis can be a complicated process, because the symptoms often resemble those of other types of inflammatory arthritis, such as gout and RA. Here are some of the required diagnostic procedures to prevent misdiagnosis.
Psoriatic Arthritis Test: Physical Exam
A proper diagnosis is based on several factors, such as a thorough medical history and a comprehensive physical examination. Your fingernails may be checked for flaking, pitting, and other abnormalities. Your doctor may also examine your joints to find tender areas.
Blood Test for Psoriatic Arthritis
Blood tests such as erythrocyte sedimentation rate, rheumatoid factor (RF), and anti-CCP antibody, may be recommended to detect signs of inflammation. These laboratory tests can help your healthcare provider distinguish between rheumatoid arthritis and psoriatic arthritis.
Clear Psoriatic Arthritis Pictures: X-rays
Your doctor may require an X-ray exam, as it can produce detailed psoriatic arthritis images. This can be used to pinpoint cartilage changes or joint and bone damage, which can indicate arthritis in your feet, hands, or spine.
Other Psoriatic Arthritis Lab Tests
Additional tests, including MRIs and joint fluid tests, may be ordered to rule out other diseases. Your doctor may also want to examine your bone strength, as psoriatic arthritis may result in bone loss.
Psoriatic Arthritis Treatment
Psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis are both chronic conditions, which can worsen over time if treatment is delayed. Unfortunately, there is no exact procedure outlining how to treat psoriatic arthritis.
Listed below are several safe and effective treatment methods to soothe your symptoms.
Psoriatic Arthritis Support
When managing a severe, painful disease like psoriatic arthritis, a lot of individuals turn to alternative treatment methods to get fast relief. The two common psoriatic arthritis support options are arthritis gloves and compression sleeves.
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Cotton-spandex, form-fitting arthritis gloves are designed to cut back on swelling and provide compression. They can help ease pains, aches, and stiffness by reducing the stress on key pressure points. The compression therapy support increases blood circulation and minimizes inflammation.
Compression sleeves are easy to slip on and off, and effective at treating a variety of arthritis symptoms--try them for yourself. ( See Product )
Wearing compression sleeves are proven to help manage psoriatic arthritis symptoms. They can reduce inflammation, keep joints comfortable, and protect your legs from abrasion. The compression material is designed to support leg muscles and improve knee stability, which in turn reduce soreness.
Heat and Cold Therapy for Psoriasis and Psoriatic Arthritis
Cold therapy can temporarily ease joint pain and reduce swelling. Apply a gel-filled ice pack wrapped in a towel for around fifteen minutes, then let your skin return to its normal temperature before reapplying.
Heat therapy can help relieve joint stiffness and relax those achy muscles. You can use a heating pad , a hot water bottle, or take a warm shower.
Psoriatic Arthritis Physical Therapy
Low-impact exercises may help alleviate symptoms, enhance mood, and make you more flexible and stronger. Strength training and range-of-motion exercises are another ideal method for psoriatic arthritis pain management. If you have psoriatic arthritis and back pain, endurance workouts may help improve your overall health as well as your cardiovascular fitness. Try a set of resistance bands for a workout customized to your ability.
Psoriatic Arthritis Diet
A special psoriatic arthritis diet as a cure is not yet proven. However, if you are constantly suffering from the joint pain, swelling, and stiffness caused by this inflammatory condition, trying different food is a proactive next step. Try the omega-3 fatty acids of salmon or tuna may help lessen inflammation.
Products that Help Reduce Psoriatic Arthritis
Psoriatic Arthritis Prognosis
Around a third of patients with psoriatic arthritis suffer from a mild form that remains stable for many years, while others need long-term care. It is not always possible to determine the exact recovery period for severe cases of psoriatic arthritis, and the condition may persist indefinitely.
Protecting Psoriatic Arthritis Joints
The disease will have some impact on your quality of life and daily function, but protecting psoriatic arthritis joints can help lessen the effects it has. Avoid straining your finger joints by wearing arthritis gloves, by slowly pushing the door open with your body rather than just your hands, and by gently lifting heavy objects with both hands.
Managing Psoriatic Arthritis Pain
It’s no secret that psoriatic arthritis joint damage can affect your daily routine--but don't think that means its time give up your favorite activities! Ease your psoriatic arthritis pain and other symptoms with a combination of psoriatic arthritis support, physical therapy, and other treatment methods. Soon enough, you'll have your symptoms well in hand!