by Nathan Wei, MD, FACP, FACR
Nathan Wei is a nationally known board-certified rheumatologist and author of the Second Opinion Arthritis Treatment Kit. It's available exclusively at this website... not available in stores.
Click here: Second Opinion Arthritis Treatment Kit
Psoriatic arthritis is a specific type of arthritis. It causes inflammation in and around the joints, usually the wrists, knees, ankles, lower back and neck.
It is an "enthesopathy." That means it attacks the attachment of tendons into bone.
Recent work published by Belasco, Wei, Krueger, and Louie has demonstrated that the immune abnormalities in the skin are quite different from the immune abnormalities found in the joint.
It has been diagnosed in approximately 23 percent of people who have psoriasis, according to the Psoriasis Foundation’s 2001 Benchmark Survey.
It commonly affects the ends of the fingers and toes- peripheral disease. It can also affect the spine- axial disease. The disease can be difficult to diagnose, particularly in its milder forms and earlier stages. Early diagnosis, however, is important for preventing long-term damage to joints and tissue.
Most people with psoriatic arthritis also have psoriasis. Psoriasis is a skin disease that typically causes red raised scaly plaques on the trunk and limbs. It also causes nail pitting and lifting up of the nail from the nail bed (onycholysis). Psoriasis is considered an autoimmune disease. Rarely, a person can have psoriatic arthritis without having psoriasis.
Symptoms of psoriatic arthritis include:
• Stiffness, pain, swelling and tenderness of the joints and surrounding soft tissue
• Reduced range of motion
• Morning stiffness and tiredness
• Nail changes, including pitting (small indentations in the nail) or lifting of the nail—found in 80 percent of people with psoriatic arthritis
• Redness and pain of the eye, similar to conjunctivitis
On average, psoriatic arthritis appears about 10 years after the first signs of psoriasis. For most people it appears between the ages of 30 and 50. It affects men and women equally. In about one of seven people with psoriatic arthritis, arthritis symptoms occur before any skin lesions.
Like rheumatoid arthritis, psoriatic arthritis is thought to be caused by a abnormalities in the immune system. Psoriatic arthritis is usually milder than rheumatoid arthritis, but some patients with psoriatic arthritis have as severe a disease as patients with rheumatoid arthritis.
Psoriatic arthritis can start slowly with mild symptoms, or it can develop quickly. It is very important to have as early and accurate a diagnosis as possible. Left untreated, psoriatic arthritis can be a progressively disabling disease. In fact, half of those with psoriatic arthritis already have bone loss by the time the disease is diagnosed. One striking feature of this disease is the “sausage” finger or toe. When this occurs along with psoriasis, the diagnosis is almost always psoriatic arthritis.
• There is no definitive test for psoriatic arthritis. Careful evaluation by a rheumatologist can establish whether a patient has psoriatic arthritis
• Diagnosis is done by process of elimination using medical history, physical examination, blood tests to rule out other diseases and X-rays of the affected joints
Get more information about psoriasis arthritis as well as...
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Second Opinion Arthritis Treatment Kit
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