How to Treat Psoriatic Arthritis?

  • January 04, 2024
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How to Treat Psoriatic Arthritis?

What is Psoriatic Arthritis?

Psoriatic arthritis (PsA) is a chronic autoimmune condition affecting the skin and joints, commonly linked to psoriasis. Psoriasis, marked by red, scaly patches, when accompanied by arthritis, causes joint pain and swelling. It can impact any joint and may extend to the eyes, heart, and tendons. Both conditions are autoimmune diseases, where the immune system mistakenly targets the body's tissues. Psoriatic arthritis symptoms, alternating between skin and joint issues, occur in phases known as flares. Prompt consultation with a healthcare provider is recommended if new skin symptoms or joint-related problems arise.

Why Does Psoriatic Arthritis Occur?

The exact cause of psoriatic arthritis is not fully understood, but it is believed to be related to a combination of genetic and environmental factors. Individuals with a family history of psoriasis or psoriatic arthritis may have a higher risk of developing the condition. Additionally, certain triggers such as infections, physical trauma, or stress may contribute to the onset of psoriatic arthritis in susceptible individuals. The immune system plays a crucial role in the development of psoriatic arthritis. In individuals with this condition, the immune system mistakenly attacks healthy tissues, leading to inflammation in the joints and skin. This chronic inflammation can cause damage to the affected joints over time, leading to pain, stiffness, and reduced joint function.

How is Psoriatic Arthritis Diagnosed?

Diagnosing psoriatic arthritis can be challenging as its symptoms can be similar to other types of arthritis. A thorough medical history, physical examination, and various diagnostic tests are usually employed to confirm the diagnosis. Rheumatologists, who specialize in arthritis and other inflammatory conditions, often play a key role in diagnosing and managing psoriatic arthritis. Diagnostic tests may include imaging studies such as X-rays and MRI scans to assess joint damage and inflammation. Blood tests may also be conducted to check for markers of inflammation and antibodies associated with autoimmune conditions. Additionally, a skin biopsy may be performed to confirm the presence of psoriasis in cases where the skin symptoms are not apparent.