Friday, August 23, 2013

Understanding Psoriatic Arthritis

It is estimated that about 2 percent of all the Caucasian population in the United States suffer from a skin disease called psoriasis. An area of inflammation that appears raised, red and scaly characterizes psoriasis. The areas commonly affected with psoriasis are the scalp, tips of elbows and knees. This could also appear around the areas of the anus and genital areas. It is observed that 10 percent of people with psoriasis develop the associated joint disease commonly known as psoriatic arthritis. Additionally, about 30 percent of people with psoriasis also have psoriatic arthritis. Psoriatic arthritis similarly exhibits the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis. However, this type of arthritis is related with the psoriasis of adjacent skin and nails. The symptoms of psoriatic arthritis are clinically similar with rheumatoid arthritis sans the rheumatoid nodules. Psoriatic arthritis often exhibits mild and irregular flare-ups with very little chances of developing into a crippling form of arthritis. Psoriatic arthritis doesn't have sexual predilection as this equally affects both male and female between the ages 30 and 35.

Heredity plays an important role in a person's predisposition to psoriatic arthritis. Yet, psoriatic arthritis starts when there is streptococcal infection, or trauma. Most often a psoriatic lesion paves the way for the development of the arthritic component. Joint and skin lesions often come back concurrently once the symptoms of psoriatic arthritis have come out completely. Symptoms include swelling, warmth, tenderness and limited movement. Psoriatic arthritis may affect a single joint or this can affect several joints in symmetrical manner. This is commonly seen in hand joints in association with psoriasis of the nails. The affected nails may appear discolored more often yellowish in appearance with pitting, traverse ridge and keratosis. The nail may be entire destroyed by the disease. During the later stages of psoriatic arthritis, patients may experience low back pain and spondylitis. Frequently, a psoriatic lesion is often found near the affected joint. Sometimes, these lesions may be hidden in such as the areas in the scalp and navel.

Most often, doctors give a diagnosis of psoriatic arthritis to patients with psoriatic lesions and are suffering from inflammatory arthritis. Diagnosis is often backed up by X-ray results and blood tests. Psoriatic arthritis should be differentiated from gout by synovial fluid examination. Psoriatic arthritis lesions should not show any white crystals like gout does. Furthermore, it should be differentiated from septic arthritis by culturing synovial fluid for microorganisms.

Finally, patients with mild psoriatic arthritis should minimize mobility though complete bed rest. Heat therapy or hot baths will also be beneficial. Inflammatory drugs will help ease the inflammation. Patients with this type of arthritis should be reassured by the doctor that the psoriatic plaques are not contagious because these might keep him from going out with people. People around patients with psoriatic plaques should not show signs of repulsion, as these will only trigger the patient's fear of being rejected. Skin care products are important and the patient should learn how to apply these medications to the skin correctly. However, these skin care products do have side effects and the doctor should be able to explain all these to the patient. The patient should take adequate rest and properly protect the affected joints. Moderate and regular exposure to the sun is also beneficial to patients with psoriatic arthritis.

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