What Is Psoriatic Arthritis?

About 30% of women, men, and children with the autoimmune skin disease psoriasis may develop a complication called psoriatic arthritis (PsA), according to the National Psoriasis Association. Rarely, you can develop PsA without having skin-related psoriasis.

There’s no cure for psoriatic arthritis, but it can be managed. Our expert rheumatologists at Rheumatology Center of New Jersey share a few facts about psoriatic arthritis, how to identify it, and how to treat it.

Psoriatic arthritis is inflammatory

Unlike osteoarthritis, which is the result of wear-and-tear on protective cartilage over time, inflammation is at the root of joint pain in psoriatic arthritis. The inflammation occurs as part of a dysfunctional immune-system response, in which your body attacks its own tissue, in this case your cartilage. Symptoms of PsA include:

Enthesis is characteristic of psoriatic arthritis and may manifest through pain at the back of your heels or in your elbows. 

Anyone can have psoriatic arthritis

Most women and men develop psoriatic arthritis between the ages of 30-50. If you have psoriasis, PsA usually starts about 10 years after you first notice skin symptoms.

Children may be most susceptible to the condition between the ages of 11-12. Children with PsA usually present with skin psoriasis first. 

You’re more likely to develop psoriatic arthritis if a family member has psoriasis. But infections cause PsA, too, particularly a streptococcal throat infection (i.e., strep throat).

Psoriatic arthritis is progressive

If you don’t treat psoriatic arthritis, the chronic inflammation permanently damages your joints. Even delaying diagnosis and treatment by six months can cause permanent joint deterioration. If you have a stiff, painful spine or joints, call us for an evaluation.  

The inflammation associated with untreated psoriatic arthritis causes other problems, too. You’re slightly more likely to develop:

If our rheumatologists diagnose you with psoriatic arthritis, they develop a custom-designed treatment plan based on your symptoms and severity of the disease.

Psoriatic arthritis is treatable

You don’t have to suffer the pain and stiffness of psoriatic arthritis or risk the health of your joints. We have a variety of science-backed therapies that relieve inflammation so that your joints can function comfortably again. Depending on your needs, we may recommend:

We may also recommend lifestyle changes, including losing weight, eating a whole-foods, an anti-inflammatory diet, and increasing your activity and exercise routine.

To find out if you have psoriatic arthritis and to get individualized treatment recommendations, call us today or use the online scheduler.

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