Psoriasis can affect your body in lots of different ways. It can also affect the joints, causing a condition called psoriatic arthritis.
What is Psoriatic Arthritis?
Psoriasis is a skin condition that is linked to your immune system. It typically causes patches of red, scaly skin, but it can also affect your scalp and nails. The effects can be different for everyone and they can change over time.
Some people who have psoriasis can develop a type of arthritis. This is believed to happen because the immune system can cause inflammation in the joints as well as the skin. Psoriatic arthritis causes stiffness, pain, swelling and inflammation in the joints. It most often affects the hands, feet, elbows, neck and spine, but it can happen in any joint. Some people only have mild arthritic symptoms, but others can be in severe pain and the joints can become permanently damaged. Arthritis can make it difficult to move around or perform everyday activities, especially when the hands are affected.
It is estimated that between 20-30% of people with psoriasis will develop psoriatic arthritis. The symptoms usually appear about 10 years after psoriasis is diagnosed, but it can happen earlier. Some people actually notice the joint problems before they’ve spotted any problems with their skin,
Treatment Options for Psoriatic Arthritis
If you have psoriasis and you notice any swelling, pain or stiffness in your joints then it’s important to consult your doctor. Psoriatic arthritis can be very painful and there could be permanent damage to your joints if you don’t get the right treatment. You may need to see a rheumatologist, a specialist who treats joint conditions, in addition to your dermatologist.
The main treatment for psoriatic arthritis is medication. Your doctor might recommend NSAIDs, corticosteroids, biological therapies, or disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs. You might need to try several different medications or doses before finding the one that suits you. It is often possible to find a drug that will relieve the symptoms of both your psoriatic arthritis and your psoriasis.
Medication can usually help to relieve the inflammation in your joints so that the pain and stiffness goes away. It will prevent damage to your joints and slow the progression of the disease.
Psoriatic arthritis can usually be managed very well with medication. Getting the right treatment can relieve pain and enable you to move freely. It’s essential to be aware of the potential complications of psoriasis so that you can seek help quickly if you notice anything unusual.