• Psoriatic Arthritis

    (Arthritis, Psoriatic; PsA)

    Definition

    Psoriatic arthritis is a long-term condition that causes pain and swelling in the joints. Over time, it can cause be damaging to the joints and cause disability. It is associated with a skin condition called psoriasis, but not everyone that has psoriasis will develop psoriatic arthritis.
    Psoriatic arthritis is an autoimmune disease which means the body attacks its own healthy tissue.
    Psoriasis
    Psoriasis
    Copyright © Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.

    Causes

    The exact cause of psoriatic arthritis is not known. It may be due to a combination of genetics and environmental triggers.

    Risk Factors

    Factors that increase your chance of psoriatic arthritis includes having:
    • Psoriasis for 5-12 years
    • Psoriasis with symptoms such as lesions on the scalp and pitted or dented nails
    • A specific gene characteristic that has been linked to psoriatic arthritis
    • A family member with psoriatic arthritis

    Symptoms

    Psoriatic arthritis usually develops in people who already have psoriasis. Symptoms that may indicate the development of psoriatic arthritis include:
    • Joint pain and tenderness in one or more joints (can be any joint including knees, feet, hands, wrists, and elbows)
    • Joint swelling
    • Joint stiffness, especially in the morning
    • Red or warm joints
    • Changes in fingernails and toenails (pitting in the nails, crumbling nails, or nails separating from the nail bed)
    • Swelling of fingers
    • Pain and inflammation of tendons where they join muscles
    • Back pain
    • Fatigue

    Diagnosis

    Your doctor will ask about your symptoms and medical history, especially information about your psoriasis. A physical exam will be done. Your doctor will rule out similar conditions with the physical exam.
    To look for signs of an inflammation and cause of joint problem your doctor may order:
    • Blood tests to look for autoimmune disease
    • Analysis of the fluid in the joints
    • Tests to check how the immune system is functioning
    Imaging tests may also be done to look for damage to the joint. Images may include:

    Treatment

    In addition to treating your psoriasis, your doctor will also create a treatment plan that focuses on your arthritis symptoms.

    Medications

    Depending on the severity of your symptoms, your doctor may recommend:
    • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) to decrease pain and inflammation
    • Steroid injections into painful joints
    • Topical steroids are used for treating the psoriasis
    • Oral steroids are occasionally need for acute flare-ups
    • Apremilast to reduce inflammation within the cell.
    • Disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs (DMARDs) to treat more severe symptoms and slow the progression of the disease
    • Tumor necrosis factor (TNF) inhibitors to treat more severe symptoms

    Other Treatment

    You may be referred to a physical or occupational therapist. These therapists can help you to improve your range of motion and your ability to do everyday activities.
    Proper weight management is associated with improved symptoms. Talk to a dietitian who can help you lose excess weight and keep it off.
    Working with a mental health therapist may also be helpful for your overall well-being. You can learn ways to better cope with your chronic condition.

    Surgery

    If you have severe pain and disability, your doctor may recommend:
    • Joint replacement surgery
    • Tendon surgery

    Prevention

    There are not current guidelines to prevent psoriatic arthritis because the cause is not known.

    RESOURCES

    Arthritis Foundation http://www.arthritis.org

    National Psoriasis Foundation http://www.psoriasis.org

    CANADIAN RESOURCES

    The Arthritis Society http://arthritis.ca

    Canadian Rheumatology Association http://rheum.ca

    References

    Psoriatic arthritis. Arthritis Foundation website. Available at: http://www.arthritis.org/about-arthritis/types/psoriatic-arthritis. Accessed November 9, 2015.

    Psoriatic arthritis. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at: http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T113795/Psoriatic-arthritis. Updated April 11, 2016. Accessed September 30, 2016.

    Psoriatic arthritis. National Psoriasis Foundation website. Available at: https://www.psoriasis.org/psoriatic-arthritis. Accessed November 9, 2015.

    Revision Information

  • LiveWell personal health survey

    How healthy are you really? Find out – free.Learn more

    It's time to stop guessing. If you want to make some changes but just aren't sure how, the free personal health survey from LiveWell is a great place to start.

  • HeartSHAPE Spotlight

    At risk for a heart attack? Learn more

    Fight heart disease and prevent heart attacks. HeartSHAPE® is a painless, non-invasive test that checks pictures of your heart for early-stage coronary disease.

  • Calories and Energy Needs

    Calorie NeedsLearn more

    How many calories do you need to eat each day to maintain your weight and fuel your physical activity? Enter a few of your stats into this calculator to find out.

  • Ideal Body Weight

    Ideal Body WeightLearn more

    Using body mass index as a reference, this calculator determines your ideal body weight range. All you need to do is enter your height.

  • Body Mass Index

    Body Mass IndexLearn more

    This tool considers your height and weight to assess your weight status.


  • Can we help answer your questions?

    Wellmont Nurse Connection is your resource for valuable health information any time, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Speak to a Nurse any time, day or night, at (423) 723-6877 or toll-free at 1-877-230-NURSE.