Some persons who have psoriasis, a condition that results in red areas of skin covered in silvery scales, may get psoriatic arthritis. Most patients get psoriasis years before they are given a psoriatic arthritis diagnosis. However, for some people, joint problems begin either at the same time or earlier than skin patches do. The primary symptoms and indicators of psoriatic arthritis include joint pain, stiffness, and edema.
They can range from minor to severe, affecting any area of the body, including your fingertips and spine. Both psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis can have flare-ups and remissions of the disease. Psoriatic arthritis has no known treatment option. Treatment aims to control symptoms and halt joint degeneration. Psoriatic arthritis without therapy can be incapacitating.
Symptoms of Psoriatic Arthritis
Psoriasis symptoms may appear before or after arthritis. Red, scaly rashes and thick, pitted fingernails are symptoms of psoriasis. Psoriatic arthritis may occur in 3 in 20 to 3 in 10 patients with psoriasis. Psoriatic arthritis symptoms include:
- Often in the fingers and toes, inflamed, swollen, and painful joints.
- Joints with persistent inflammation-related deformities.
- Its symptoms might resemble those of other medical diseases.
Thus, for a diagnosis, be sure to visit your healthcare physician.
If you already have psoriasis, it will be simpler to diagnose psoriatic arthritis. The diagnosis is more challenging if you do not have skin symptoms. A physical exam and health history are the first steps in the procedure. Your doctor will inquire about your symptoms. Also, the doctor suggests to get blood tests to check the following:
Erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR or sed rate)
The procedure measures the speed at which red blood cells settle to the bottom of a test tube. The proteins in the blood clump together and expand to a greater extent than usual in the presence of edema and inflammation. The bottom of the test tube is where they descend and settle most quickly. The inflammation worsens when blood cells drop off more quickly.
This can manifest with elevated blood uric acid levels, although these values are not utilized for diagnosis or monitoring.
To aid in the diagnosis, there is a requirement for X-rays, CT scans, ultrasonography, MRIs, and skin biopsies.
Treatment for Psoriatic Arthritis
The goal of psoriatic arthritis therapy is to control the condition and alleviate its symptoms. The following elements may be used in any combination as a treatment:
The severity of the condition, the number of affected joints, and any related skin complaints all influence the drug choice. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDs) may be effective in treating early-stage inflammation. When NSAIDs are unable to control a condition, biologic medicines must be taken into account.
Regular, gentle exercise may help ease the pain and stiffness in the joints arising due to psoriatic arthritis. Combining low-impact aerobics with range-of-motion and strengthening exercises as directed and overseen by a physical or occupational therapist may be beneficial. Consult your healthcare professional about exercise alternatives before starting any new exercise program.
Heat and Cold Therapy
The application of moist heat and cold treatment to the troubled joints is alternated or chosen intermittently. Moist heat relieves tight joints, stiff muscles, and aching muscles by relaxing them. Also, through the numbing effect on the injured joints, cold treatment can reduce swelling and relieve discomfort.
Joint Protection and Energy Efficiency
Perform daily tasks in a way that minimizes excessive joint stress and weariness. Psoriatic arthritis sufferers are advised to routinely switch up their body positions at work, at home, and while engaging in leisure activities. Moreover, maintain appropriate posture. This involves sitting or standing upright and without arching your back.
To reduce inflammation or issues with joint alignment or stability, your doctor may advise splinting your joints. However, the splints should occasionally be taken off and modest range-of-motion exercises should be done in order to retain mobility in these joints.
Most sufferers with psoriatic arthritis never require surgery. But badly damaged joints could need to undergo joint replacement surgery. Surgery aims to enhance the damaged area’s physical appearance, and reduce discomfort. Also, it improves mobility or restores function.
For psoriatic arthritis, there is no cure. But by adhering to your treatment plan, you can lessen your symptoms. Utilize medication, acupuncture, and meditation to control pain. Exercise regularly. Yoga, swimming, walking, and biking are all beneficial forms of exercise. Furthermore, work with an occupational or physical therapist. He or she could recommend tools to make your everyday work easier.