What is Psoriasis Arthritis?

Psoriatic arthritis is a form of arthritis that may occur in up to 40% patients of psoriasis. Out of these, in 80% patients it develops in cases of chronic and severe psoriasis. It is a disorder that causes inflammation of joints along with silvery or grey scales on skin. Tissues surrounding the joints including tendons and ligaments are also affected.

It is a less common form of arthritis that equally affects both men and women. Although psoriasis may start at any age (commonly in the late teens), but the arthritis component usually makes its appearance later - in the 20s, 30s and 40s. In majority of cases, psoriasis shows first, but in a small percentage of people (approximately 15%), arthritis may show first.

Psoriatic Arthritis

The disorder is characterized by following symptoms:

• Swelling and pain in and around the joints

• Swelling of the whole digit called “sausage” finger or toe

• Skin inflammation, particularly on the elbows, knees and scalp

• Morning stiffness

• Generalized body fatigue

• Silvery or grey itchy scales on skin

Commonly affected joints by Psoriatic Arthritis

Psoriatic Arthritis can affect a number of joints including:

• Fingers

• Wrists

• Toes

• Knees

• Ankles

• Elbows

• Shoulder

• Spine

• Joints in the lower back (called sacroiliac joints)

Diagnosis of Psoriatic Arthritis

Diagnosis has to be made between rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis and psoriasis arthritis as all these conditions give same clinical presentations. The differentiating considerations that confirm the diagnosis of psoriatic arthritis include:

• Presence of skin lesions

• Deformation of nails

• Negative rheumatoid factor

• Raised ESR

• X-ray changes (Joint space narrowing, joint erosion, and new bone formation around the bone)

• Iritis

Severity Ratio

• 17% of Psoriatic arthritis patients have estimated 5 deformed joints

• 25%to 40% have spinal involvement

• 40% to 57% have deforming arthritis

• 11% to 19% are disabled

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