Psoriatic Arthritis (PsA) is a type of inflammatory arthritis that affects some people who have psoriasis, a skin condition characterized by red patches with silvery scales. Not everyone with psoriasis will develop psoriatic arthritis. PsA involves joint pain, stiffness, and swelling and can affect any joint in the body, including the spine.
Symptoms of Psoriatic Arthritis:
- Joint pain, swelling, and stiffness
- Tenderness where tendons or ligaments attach to bones
- Morning stiffness and tiredness
- Nail changes like pitting or separation from the nail bed
- Swelling of fingers or toes (dactylitis)
- Pain and swelling at the back of your heel (Achilles tendinitis)
- Lower back pain (spondylitis)
- Psoriasis: Those with psoriasis lesions are at a higher risk of developing PsA.
- Family History: Many people with PsA have a family member with the disease or with psoriasis.
- Age: Most people develop PsA between the ages of 30 and 50, but it can occur earlier.
Is there a cure for Psoriatic Arthritis?
Currently, there is no cure for psoriatic arthritis. However, treatments are available that can effectively control its symptoms and prevent or slow down joint damage.
- Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs): Over-the-counter NSAIDs, such as ibuprofen and naproxen sodium, may help reduce pain and swelling.
- Disease-Modifying Antirheumatic Drugs (DMARDs): These drugs can slow the progression of psoriatic arthritis and save the joints and other tissues from permanent damage. Common DMARDs include methotrexate and leflunomide.
- Immunosuppressants: These medications suppress the immune system to treat psoriatic arthritis. Examples include azathioprine and cyclosporine.
- TNF-alpha Inhibitors: Tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-alpha) is an inflammatory substance produced by the body. TNF-alpha inhibitors can help reduce pain, morning stiffness, and tender or swollen joints. Examples include etanercept, infliximab, and adalimumab.
- Interleukin-12 and Interleukin-23 Inhibitors: These are used to treat moderate to severe psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis. An example is ustekinumab.
- Physical and Occupational Therapy: Working with a therapist can help you manage your daily activities in a way that protects your joints.
- Surgery: If joint damage due to PsA is severe, joint replacement surgery might be recommended.
- Lifestyle Changes: Maintaining a healthy weight, exercising regularly, and using joint protection techniques can help manage symptoms and prevent further joint damage.
While psoriatic arthritis can’t be cured, its symptoms can be managed effectively with the right treatments and interventions. Regular medical check-ups, leading a healthy lifestyle, and following prescribed treatments can help individuals with PsA maintain a good quality of life.