What is Psoriatic Arthritis?
Psoriatic arthritis (PsA) is a type of arthritis that affects people with psoriasis, a chronic skin condition characterized by red, scaly patches on the skin. PsA causes inflammation in the joints and can lead to joint damage and deformity if left untreated. It can also affect other parts of the body, such as the eyes, skin, and nails.
The exact cause of PsA is not known, but it is believed to be related to a combination of genetic and environmental factors. People with a family history of PsA or psoriasis are more likely to develop the condition. Environmental factors such as stress, infections, or injuries can also trigger PsA or worsen existing symptoms.
The symptoms of PsA can vary from person to person and may include joint pain, swelling, and stiffness. The joints most commonly affected by PsA are the fingers, toes, and spine, but it can also affect larger joints such as the knees and hips. In addition to joint symptoms, people with PsA may experience fatigue, eye inflammation, skin rashes, and nail changes.
PsA is diagnosed through a combination of medical history, physical examination, and diagnostic tests such as X-rays, MRI, and blood tests. Treatment for PsA aims to reduce inflammation, relieve symptoms, and prevent joint damage. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs) are commonly used to manage symptoms and prevent joint damage.
Biologic drugs, which target specific components of the immune system, have also been shown to be effective in treating PsA. These drugs are given by injection or infusion and work by blocking the inflammatory response that leads to joint damage.
In addition to medication, lifestyle modifications can also be helpful in managing PsA symptoms. Exercise, physical therapy, and stretching can help maintain joint flexibility and reduce pain. Maintaining a healthy weight, eating a balanced diet, and getting enough rest can also help manage symptoms and improve overall health.
Living with PsA can be challenging, and it is important for people with PsA to work closely with their healthcare providers to develop a comprehensive treatment plan. Regular monitoring of symptoms and joint function can help detect and prevent joint damage. With proper management, people with PsA can lead healthy, active lives and minimize the impact of the disease on their daily activities.