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Psoriatic arthritis is a form of arthritis associated with psoriasis. Psoriasis is a chronic skin and nail disease. It causes red, scaly rashes and thick, pitted fingernails. Psoriatic arthritis is similar to rheumatoid arthritis (RA) in symptoms and joint inflammation. But it tends to affect fewer joints than RA. And it does not produce the typical RA antibodies. The arthritis of psoriatic arthritis comes in 5 forms:
The cause of psoriatic arthritis is unknown. But factors such as immunity, genes, and the environment may play a role.
The skin condition psoriasis may start before or after the arthritis. Symptoms can occur a bit differently in each person. Psoriasis causes red, scaly rashes and thick, pitted fingernails. Symptoms of psoriatic arthritis may include:
Psoriatic arthritis is easier to confirm if you already have psoriasis. If the skin symptoms have not yet occurred, diagnosis is more difficult. The process starts with a medical history and a physical exam. Your health care provider will ask about your symptoms. You may have blood tests to check:
Treatment will depend on your symptoms, your age, and your general health. It will also depend on how severe the condition is.
Treatment is done for both the skin condition and the joint inflammation. Some medications used to treat psoriatic arthritis include:
Other treatment may include:
The condition may damage joints enough to change a person’s activity level. Lack of activity can lead to stiff joints and muscle weakness. Psoriatic arthritis can also cause fatigue and low red blood cell count (anemia). People with psoriatic arthritis are more likely to develop:
There is no cure for psoriatic arthritis. However, you can reduce your symptoms. This includes sticking to your treatment plan. Manage pain with medication, acupuncture, and meditation. Get enough exercise. Good exercises include yoga, swimming, walking, and bicycling. Work with a physical or occupational therapist. He or she can suggest devices to help you in your daily tasks.
If your symptoms get worse or you have new symptoms, let your health care provider know.
Tips to help you get the most from a visit to your health care provider:
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