Psoriatic Arthritis - Arthritis Research | Arthritis National Research Foundation
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Psoriatic Arthritis

What is Psoriatic Arthritis?

Psoriatic arthritis (PsA) is an autoimmune disease; the body’s own immune system becomes overactive and attacks normal tissues in the body. Patients with PsA can experience swelling, stiffness and pain in their joints and surrounding tissues, as well as nail changes and extreme fatigue.

 

According to the National Psoriasis Foundation (NPF), up to 30 percent of people with psoriasis will develop psoriatic arthritis. That means that PsA, which is an inflammatory form of arthritis, affects an estimated 2.25 million Americans.*

 

People with psoriatic arthritis experience the red patches of skin and silvery scales that psoriasis patients experience as well as the joint pain and stiffness associated with autoimmune forms of arthritis.

What is psoriatic arthritis?

PsA can affect any part of your body, including your fingertips and spine, and the disease severity may range from relatively mild to severe. For patients with psoriatic arthritis, disease flare ups are relatively unpredictable as they often alternate with periods of remission.

 

There is currently no cure for psoriatic arthritis.

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Signs and Symptoms of Psoriatic Arthritis

Onset of psoriatic arthritis is different for every patient. In some people it develops slowly with minimal symptoms; but, in others it develops quickly and painfully. Early detection, diagnosis and treatment of psoriatic arthritis is critical to help prevent and/or limit the joint damage that can occur.

 

Here are common symptoms of psoriatic arthritis:

  • General, overall fatigue
  • Pain, swelling and/or tenderness around your tendons
  • Reduced range of motion
  • Stiffness and tiredness in the morning
  • Swollen toes and finger
  • Stiffness, pain, swelling and/or tenderness in your joint(s)
  • Nail changes
  • Psoriatic arthritis usually affects the distal joints (those closest to the nail) in fingers or toes

 

Your lower back, wrists, knees or ankle could also show signs and symptoms. In 85 percent of patients, psoriasis occurs before joint disease. If you have been diagnosed with psoriasis, it is important to tell your dermatologist if you have any aches and pains.*

Risk Factors For Psoriatic Arthritis
  • Having psoriasis is the number one risk factor for developing psoriatic arthritis
  • People with psoriasis on their nails have been shown to be even more likely to develop psoriatic arthritis
  • Your family history is a risk factor as genetic component has been shown to exists with psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis patients.
  • Anyone can develop psoriatic arthritis, but it occurs most often in adults between the ages of 30 and 50.

Charitable donations to the ANRF have provided for numerous grants to researchers in osteoarthritis, lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, juvenile arthritis, gout and the related autoimmune diseases like psoriatic arthritis.

 

*Statistics and facts from the NPF, National Psoriasis Foundation, www.Psoriasis.org