Psoriatic arthritis is a type of autoimmune, chronic inflammatory arthritis that commonly affects the skin and joints.
Psoriatic arthritis may lead to various degrees of inflammation, swelling, stiffness, and pain in the joints, especially on one side of the body. It affects almost all the joints in the body, especially the joints in the lower back and lower extremities such as the knees and ankles.
- Pain caused in the joints can be debilitating and reduce mobility.
- Some people report that the pain feels like their bones are crumbling and shattering, and they have persistent body aches, which are very exhausting.
- It causes extremely high fatigue that can interfere with regular activities. Some people express that the fatigue caused is worse and more debilitating than the pain itself.
What are the symptoms of psoriatic arthritis?
Psoriatic arthritis is a type of autoimmune, chronic inflammatory arthritis that commonly affects the skin and joints. The body’s immune cells attack healthy joints, tendons, ligaments, and skin to destroy them.
- Joint pain, especially knee and lower back
- Skin rash
- Itchy skin with painful red spots or a buildup of dead skin cells that appear white, most commonly on the knees, elbows, and scalp
- Low-grade fever
- Nail changes such as nail cracking or white patches, as well as pulling from the nail bed
- Restricted range of motion
- Edema or redness on the fingers, wrist, ankle, and knee
- Inflammation and swelling in regions where tendons or ligaments meet bone, such as the back of the heel
The most difficult challenge faced by people living with psoriatic arthritis is the unpredictable flare-ups of the condition. These unwanted occurrences might affect both your personal and professional life. Researchers have found that about 80 percent of individuals with psoriatic arthritis were unable to continue their jobs because of their disease.
What are the causes of psoriatic arthritis?
The exact causes of psoriatic arthritis are unclear. However, a flare-up of psoriatic arthritis can be caused by several circumstances. Stress, infections such as human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) or strep throat, physical injuries, or smoking all can activate your immune system and cause flare-ups.
Nearly 30 percent of people with psoriasis (an inflammatory skin condition) develop psoriatic arthritis. Although most people get psoriasis first and psoriatic arthritis later, a small percentage of people acquire psoriatic arthritis before ever experiencing a rash.
What is psoriatic arthritis?
What are the risk factors for psoriatic arthritis?
Three main risk factors for psoriatic arthritis include:
- Genetic factors: According to research, people with psoriatic arthritis usually have a genetic predisposition for it. Different types of psoriatic arthritis and psoriasis are caused by specific genetic alterations. At least 10 percent of the population may have psoriasis-causing genes. Genes that are responsible for causing psoriatic arthritis or psoriasis can run in families. If your close family has psoriatic disease, you are more likely to acquire it. However, not everyone with these genes develops the illness.
- History of psoriasis: If you are diagnosed to have psoriasis, you are most likely to develop psoriatic arthritis. This is one of the greatest risk factors. Some may not develop any skin manifestations before possible psoriatic arthritis in the joints; this does not mean that they have no psoriasis. Anyone who develops psoriatic arthritis will have underlying psoriasis, which they were unaware of.
- Age: Psoriasis is generally diagnosed years after the development of psoriasis. As a result, it is most common in people between the ages of 30 and 55 years. Younger people can develop psoriatic arthritis as well; however, it is less common.
What are the common triggers of psoriatic arthritis?
There are various triggers that can cause flare-ups of psoriatic arthritis. However, the triggers may differ from person to person. Although flare-ups are unpredictable, it is essential to be aware of what triggers your psoriatic arthritis and avoid them as much as possible. This will help you keep your symptoms in check.
Common triggers of psoriatic arthritis include:
- Mental stress
- Improper sleep hygiene
- Skin injury caused by
- Lifestyle habits
- Environmental factors
- Cold weather
- Low atmospheric pressure
- Lack of minimal sun exposure
- Physical stress-causing strain on the joints
- Certain medications