Psoriatic arthritis (PSA) is a form of arthritis that affects people who are suffering from psoriasis, an immune system disorder that appears in the form of reddish or silvery skin lesions. Symptoms of psoriatic arthritis include inflammation of the joints and body tissues, including the heart, kidneys, lungs, eyes, and spine. A person may only have symptoms of one condition for many years before other signs show up.
Psoriatic Arthritis Diagnosis
Diagnosing psoriatic arthritis can be somewhat complicated, as there is currently no specific tests for it. There are, however, several approaches to diagnosis. When indicators of psoriatic arthritis surface, a blood test is typically used to rule out rheumatoid arthritis. Luckily, this test is almost always negative when PSA is present. Blood tests are also conducted to determine if a patient has psoriasis. Doctors may also decide to use X-rays to look for characteristic damage to the joints and the fusion of finger and toe joints.
Psoriatic Arthritis Treatments
Psoriatic arthritis is diagnosed clinically, and the symptoms of arthritis and psoriasis are treated individually. Psoriatic arthritis treatments may include topical applications, biologic injections, oral medication, light therapy, or corticosteroid injections. Arthritic symptoms are usually treated with exercise and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. Often, when one condition’s symptoms are relieved, the other’s are also reduced.
In more extreme cases of psoriatic arthritis, certain medications may be used to prevent joint deformity and destruction. These include corticosteroids, hydroxychloroquine, oral or injectable gold, sulfasalazine, leflunomide, and tumor necrosis factor blockers.
All of these medications come with severe side effects and are only prescribed for severe cases of psoriatic arthritis. Sometimes, surgery is recommended to repair damaged joints.
PSA symptoms can vary widely from one person to another. Joint pain, swelling, tendinitis, and fatigue are a few of the common symptoms. Psoriatic arthritis has the potential to develop into a more severe joint problem. For this reason, early diagnosis and subsequent treatments can reduce inflammation and minimize or stop joint damage. If you suffer from this condition, it is essential to follow your doctor’s recommendations for relief of symptoms.
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