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An estimated 7.5 million Americans have the chronic skin condition psoriasis. Among those individuals, 30% will develop psoriatic arthritis. Psoriatic arthritis is sometimes hard to diagnose, because there is no definitive testing like there is with other types of arthritis. Because diagnosis is not easily testable, it is important for those who have joint pain or stiffness to communicate all of their symptoms with their Dr. The earlier a diagnosis is made, the sooner preventative measures will be taken and the right medications prescribed.

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According to the National Psoriasis Foundation, the most common age that psoriatic arthritis develops is between the ages of 30 and 50. Genetic factors, the immune system, as well as environmental triggers all can contribute to the development of psoriatic arthritis.

There are many medications and treatments today for this type of autoimmune disorder, so despite what may feel like a hopeless affliction, help can be found.  As stated earlier, it is important to identify and communicate as many symptoms as possible with your Dr. so that your treatment can be affective.

What are the symptoms?

Like psoriasis of the skin, psoriatic arthritis can develop and then subside with varying degrees. The symptoms that can be present with psoriatic arthritis are joint pain, stiffness, and swelling. Swollen fingers and toes that have a sausage-like appearance are also an indication of psoriatic arthritis. In addition, nail changes such as yellowing and separating are an indicator to a Dr. that the arthritic like symptoms presenting themselves are psoriatic arthritis.

What are the treatments?

Treatments for psoriatic arthritis depend on how severe symptoms are. The goal is to keep both psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis under control, as they are both a representation of the body’s destructive autoimmune response.

When the pain and joint discomfort only affects a few joints, it is considered a localized form of psoriatic arthritis. As long as symptoms remain mild and localized, long term problems, including deforming of the joints, are not expected.  Treatment will not be aggressive in this case.

Generalized psoriatic arthritis is considered disabling and will affect three or more joints. Anti-inflammatory medications will be prescribed.  In addition, there are also newer forms of treatments, such as biologics, that offer a new option in treating the cause of the autoimmune response itself. Biologics essentially block the immune system’s response and can therefore prevent the symptoms and occurrence of both psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis.

By discussing with your Doctor all of the symptoms that you experience and by being proactive and asking about forms of treatments for psoriatic arthritis and psoriasis, successful treatment is possible.

psoriasis treatment