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Psoriatic Arthritis

What is psoriatic arthritis?:

Psoriatic arthritis (PsA) is a condition that combines the swollen, sore joints of arthritis with psoriasis . Psoriasis causes itchy, scaly red patches to appear on your skin and scalp.

 

Why You Should Care?
Symptoms?
Risk Factors?
Complications?
Treatment?

Why You Should Care:

About 7.5 million Americans have psoriasis and up to 30 percent of these people develop PsA.

Types of psoriatic arthritis:

Symmetric PsA: This type affects the same joints on both sides of your body. About 50 percent of people with PsA have this type.

Asymmetric PsA: This affects a joint or joints on one side of your body. It affects about  35 percent of people with PsA.

Distal interphalangeal predominant PsA: This type involves the joints closest to your nails. It occurs in about  10 percent of people with PsA.

Spondylitis PsA: This type of PsA involves your spine. Your entire spine from your neck to your lower back may be affected.

Psoriatic arthritis mutilans: About 5 percent  of people with PsA have this type. Psoriatic arthritis mutilans usually affects your hands and feet.

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Symptoms:

General symptoms of PsA include:

• swollen, tender joints on one or both sides of your body

• morning stiffness

• swollen fingers and toes

• painful muscles and tendons

• scaly skin patches, which may get worse when joint pain flares up

• flaky scalp

fatigue

nail pitting

• separation of your nail from the nail bed

• eye redness(conjunctivitis)

• eye pain(uveitis)

Spondylitis PsA, in particular, can also cause the following symptoms:

• spinal pain and stiffness

• pain, swelling, and weakness in your hips, knees, ankles, feet, elbow, hands, wrists, and other joints

• swollen toes or fingers

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Risk Factors:

You’re more likely to get PsA if you:

• have psoriasis

• have a parent, brother, or sister with PsA

• are between the ages of 30 and 50 (though children can get it, too)

• have had strep throat

• have HIV

PsA puts you at risk for complications that include:

• psoriatic arthritis mutilans

• eye problems, such as conjunctivitis or uveitis

• cardiovascular disease

Psoriatic Arthritis Triggers:

PsA flare-ups make the condition worse for a period of time. Certain things can set off PsA flares and these things are different for everybody.

Common PsA triggers include:

• infections like strep throat and upper respiratory infection

• injuries such as a cut, scrape, or sunburn

• dry skin

• stress

• cold, dry weather

• smoking

• heavy drinking

• excess weight

• medicines such as lithium, beta-blockers, and antimalarial drugs

Although you can’t avoid all of these triggers, you can try to manage stress, stop smoking, and cut down on drinking.

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Treatment:

The goal of PsA treatment is to improve symptoms like skin rash and joint inflammation. A typical treatment plan will include one or more of the following:

Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs): These medications help control joint pain and swelling. Over-the-counter (OTC) options include  ibuprofen (Advil) and naproxen  (Aleve).

Disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs): These medications decrease inflammation to prevent joint damage and slow the progression of PsA. The most commonly prescribed DMARDs include:

• methotrexate (Trexall)

• leflunomide (Arava)

• sulfasalazine (Azulfidine)

• Apremilast (Otezla)

Biologics: Commonly prescribed biologic drugs include:

• adalimumab (Humira)

• certolizumab (Cimzia)

• golimumab (Simponi)

• etanercept (Enbrel)

• infliximab (Remicade)

Steroids: These medications can bring down inflammation. For PsA, they’re usually injected into affected joints.

Immunosuppressants: Medications like azathioprine  (Imuran) and cyclosporine  (Gengraf) calm the overactive immune response in PsA.

Biologics: Commonly prescribed biologic drugs include:

Topical treatments: Creams, gels, lotions, and ointments can relieve the itchy PsA rash. Options include:

• anthralin

• calcitriol or calcipotriene, which are forms of vitamin D-3

• salicylic acid

• steroid creams

• tazarotene, which is a derivative of vitamin AA

Light therapy and other PsA medicines: Light therapy uses medicine, followed by exposure to bright light, to treat psoriasis skin rashes.

 

* CIS does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. The content is for informational purposes only.