Psoriatic arthritis: Which condition makes you more vulnerable to this disease
Psoriatic arthritis can develop up to 10 years after being diagnosed with psoriasis, which affects one in three people with this skin condition. Here’s the fact-file on the auto-immune diseases.
The NHS explained that this condition causes red, flaky and crusty patches of skin, covered with silvery scales.
Symptoms of the skin condition mainly affect the elbows, knees, scalp and lower back – but it can appear anywhere on the body.
Sometimes the patches are itchy and sore, with the severity of the condition varying from person to person.
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The chronic skin condition can appear to come and go – with some flare-ups more noticeable than others.
How does psoriasis develop?
People with psoriasis have an increased production of skin cells.
Typically, skin cells are made and replaced every three to four weeks.
For people with psoriasis, however, this process can take place every three to seven days.
The build-up of skin cells is what created the patches associated with psoriasis.
Psoriasis is thought to have a genetic link, with the condition running in families.
It’s thought to be related to issues with the immune system attacking healthy skin cells.
Psoriatic arthritis is a fairly common development with people previously diagnosed with psoriasis.
It’s a specific type of arthritis that leads to painful, swollen and stiff joints.
Some sufferers may only have mild symptoms in a couple of joints.
Others, not so lucky, can experience severe problems affecting many joints.
Remission can take place (when symptoms improve) and flare-ups are also part-and-parcel with the condition.
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Those with diagnosed psoriasis should be asked to fill out a questionnaire every year by their GP – do follow this up if you’ve not been asked to complete one.
This questionnaire can enable your doctor to refer you to a rheumatologist if they suspect psoriatic arthritis.
A rheumatologist specialises in joint conditions, who can perform an assessment as to whether or not you have psoriatic arthritis – or any other type of arthritis for that matter.
Diagnostic tools can include blood tests to measure inflammation in the body, and X-rays or scans.
Treatment for psoriatic arthritis
Treatment for the condition aims to relieve symptoms, slow its progression and improve the person’s quality of life.
If possible, one medication may be used to treat both psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis.
The main treatment options include non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), corticosteroids or disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs (DMARDs).
One alternative is to try the newer biological treatments, which stop particular chemicals in the blood activating the immune system to attack the lining of the joints.
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