What is it?

Psoriatic arthritis is an inflammatory musculoskeletal disease associated with psoriasis - a condition that features red patches of skin topped with silvery scales. Most people develop psoriasis first and are later diagnosed with psoriatic arthritis, but the joint problems can sometimes begin before skin patches appear.

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Signs & symptoms

Joint pain, swelling and stiffness are the main signs and symptoms of Psoriatic Arthritis. They can affect any part of your body, including your fingertips and spine, and can range from relatively mild to severe. In both psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis, disease flares may alternate with periods of remission.

Diagnosis

No single test can confirm a diagnosis of psoriatic arthritis. But some types of tests can rule out other causes of joint pain, such as rheumatoid arthritis or gout.
- Physical examination: to examine your joints for signs of swelling or tenderness. Check your fingernails for pitting, flaking and other abnormalities, and to find tender areas.
- Imaging tests: Plain X-rays can help pinpoint changes in the joints that occur in psoriatic arthritis but not in other arthritic conditions. MRI also can be performed in order to check tendons and ligaments of the feet and lower back.
- Laboratory tests: Mostly to exclude other conditions. Blood test for Rheumatoid factor (RF)- an antibody that's often present in the blood of people with rheumatoid arthritis, but it's not usually in the blood of people with psoriatic arthritis- this test can help your doctor to exclude other similar conditions. And Joint fluid test- aspiration of a small sample of fluid from one of your affected joints - often the knee. Uric acid crystals in your joint fluid may indicate that you have gout rather than psoriatic arthritis.

Treatment

No cure exists for psoriatic arthritis, so treatment focuses on controlling inflammation in your affected joints to prevent joint pain and disability. Your doctor may offer you different kinds of medication, includes:
- NSAIDs in order to relieve pain and reduce inflammation.
- Disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs in order to slow the progression of psoriatic arthritis and save the joints and other tissues from permanent damage.
- Immunosuppressants in order to tame your immune system, which is out of control in psoriatic arthritis.
- Biologic agents These medications target specific parts of the immune system that trigger inflammation and lead to joint damage.

☝️ This is not a substitute for professional medical advice. Please consult with your physician before making any medical decision.

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