Psoriasis Arthritis

November 12, 2012

Psoriasis Arthritis

Psoriatic arthritis affects people who have psoriasis, a skin condition characterized by red patches and silvery scales. The joint problems may appear before the skin symptoms, but are often diagnosed later. There is no cure for the condition.

Causes

Psoriatic arthritis occurs when your immune system mistakenly produces antibodies against its own cells and tissue. This causes inflammation in your joints and overproduction of skin cells. Researchers do not know what triggers the immune system to produce these antibodies, although physical trauma or infection may promote the condition in individuals who are genetically predisposed to it. Your age and family history may also play an important role in the development of psoriatic arthritis.

Symptoms

Psoriatic arthritis and psoriasis are chronic diseases. The symptoms come and go. They also get worse over time. The condition may affect one or more joints on one or both sides of your body. Common symptoms include:

  • Painful and swollen joints which are warm to the touch.
  • Painful, sausage-like swelling of your fingers and toes. These deformities may develop before the joint symptoms.
  • Pain in the heel or sole of the feet.
  • Lower back pain

Diagnosis

Your doctor may perform thorough physical examination. He or she may also recommend blood tests such as rheumatoid factor test and joint fluid test. X-ray and magnetic resonance imaging scan can confirm the diagnosis of the condition.

Treatment

There is no cure for psoriatic arthritis. Treatment aims to control the inflammation and prevent joint pain and disability. Common medications include nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs, immunosuppressant medications, and TNF-alpha inhibitors.

Diet

A healthy, balanced and nutritious diet will help you control your body weight. It will, thereby, reduce the stress on the weight-bearing joints of your body. Patients with psoriatic arthritis tend to have weak joints. Any additional pressure on them can be detrimental. Hence, it is important to follow a healthy diet and control the weight. You do not have to make major changes. Just replace the refined sugars and processed fats in your foods with whole grains and low-fat foods. You should also add at least five servings of fruits and vegetables to your diet. These foods will provide vitamins, minerals and antioxidants required for the proper functioning of your joints. They will also help you lose weight. Low-fat dairy products will provide calcium for healthy bones. You may also find several natural and synthetic supplements that claim to treat arthritis. Talk to a doctor before using them.

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