Psoriatic Arthritis: Important Things You Need to Know

psoriatic arthritisPeople who are diagnosed with this malady are suffering two illnesses: Psoriasis, which gives the sufferer a rough, scaly rash on the skin, and a semblance of Rheumatoid Arthritis, where the very person’s immune system attacks the body’s cartilage tissues. The person will experience the nuisance of the red or silvery patches on the skin. There is also pain, tenderness and stiffness of the joints. In most cases, this condition affects the joints of the fingers and toes, mostly sore at mornings and which subsides throughout the course of the day.

Early Diagnosis means Early Treatment

Psoriatic Arthritis is a serious condition that shouldn’t be left untreated. According to the National Psoriasis Foundation, 10-30 percent of the populace develop this condition and without treatment, it can be potentially disabling to the sufferer of this malaise. The fact that there is yet no potent cure for this case should be a cause for belligerence. Another factor is how this ailment varies on an individual basis, and that treatment is dependent on the levels of pain experienced. Symptoms can develop slowly in some people and quickly on others. Majority of the sufferers experience heightened level of skin disease which predominates the joint pain.

How do I know if I have Psoriatic Arthritis?

  1. You suddenly feel an unexplainable fatigue that you have never felt before.
  2. You find it hard to move, or worst, you cannot move at all because of pain in every motion.
  3. You experience stiffness and exhaustion in the mornings.
  4. Your fingers or toes are swollen.
  5. You experience tenderness, stiffness, swelling or a throbbing pain in your tendons or joints.
  6. You see changes in your nails like you have a fungus infection. Fingernails or toenails might even detach.
  7. There is redness or pain in your eyes. Conjunctivitis could also be present.
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Psoriatic Arthritis could develop after an injury. Muscle or joint pain could be felt, even without the swelling. More often, you might even be diagnosed with a Tendonitis, or a Bursitis. Most of the time, this disease affects the joints closest to the fingers or toes. Your fingers might even swell like sausages. In some cases, the wrists, knees, ankle, and lower back can be affected.

Numbness of the fingers is not to be taken for granted. A person’s ability to grip an object must be tested. The wrist and hands might tingle and lose its feeling due to a swelling and compression of the median nerve. The distal joint of the fingers is often affected and might even be confused for osteoarthritis. This classic symptom affects 5 percent of people with psoriatic arthritis, and is classified under: Distal interphalangeal predominant (DIP).

What can I do about it?

A visit to your doctor is the most important thing you can do, to rule out any suspicions you have. You may see a dermatologist for the psoriasis or skin malady – but for the pain, a Rheumatologist is recommended. Unfortunately, there is no standard test for psoriatic arthritis but there are various diagnostic exams you can take to rule out the possibilities. Here’s what you can expect on your first visit to your doctor:

  1. An examination of your skin and joints
  2. An X-Ray of the affected joint ( or MRI to be most accurate )
  3. A Blood Test – to look for autoimmune disorders
  4. A review of your Medical History
  5. A Physical Examination

There is no complete cure for psoriatic arthritis, but the pain and swelling could be reduced through various oral and topical medications prescribed. Physical exercise and therapies could also be given to the patient, and in serious cases, surgery has to be performed. A Holistic approach and a wellness program incorporated in a patient’s daily lifestyle could also improve one’s condition.

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Get yourself checked. Give yourself a peace of mind, knowing that you have the ability to control your body and health. We can only hope that a miracle cure for this ailment would be available in the few years to come. For now, be healthy – Naturally!