Psoriatric Arthritis – How to Diagnose and Treat



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Psoriatric Arthritis How to Diagnose and Treat

Psoriatic arthritis is a chronic inflammatory condition that affects joints and other tissues. It is one of the over 100 conditions that falls under the umbrella diagnosis of arthritis.

Psoriatic arthritis leads to joint construction and complications which can be significantly debilitating for the sufferer. However, in the recent past, research has led to several treatment options which allow the patient to live more comfortable lives.

As in the case of any illness or condition, it is first necessary to obtain the correct diagnosis. Because arthritis is such a generic term that encompasses illnesses and diseases which affect the joints, doctors must be very diligent in their diagnostic procedures in order to differentiate psoriatic arthritis from any of the other over 100 conditions. Some of the inflammatory diseases of the joints, such as a gout or Lupus, can be caused by dietary allergies and not necessarily linked to arthritis.

This particular condition is a rheumatic disease that affects the body systemwide. This means that not only are the joints affected but also the eyes, lungs, heart, kidneys, spine and skin. At this time researchers have not conclusively identified any known cause but believes there is a combination of environmental, and noon and genetic factors which lead to the development.

Patients who have arthritic changes in their spine also have a 50% chance of carrying a genetic marker for psoriatic arthritis. While individuals who have immune involvements, such as AIDS or other immune deficient diseases where the patient is unable to fight off infection, may develop psoriasis more quickly, researchers continue to evaluate the role that these conditions play as a precursor to psoriatic arthritis.

All patients who develop psoriatic trick arthritis will also have developed psoriasis in the past. In fact, the diagnosis is dependent upon the presence of psoriasis. Doctors often the way the diagnoses of the condition when the arthritis develops and psoriasis is not present.

Diagnosis is usually made on clinical findings since there are no conclusive lab tests were imaging tests available. Sometimes psoriatic trick arthritis is diagnosed as an exclusion of other forms of arthritis. In other words, the doctor will exclude the diagnosis of all their forms of arthritis in order to diagnose psoriatic trick arthritis. In some cases genetic markers are present. While x-rays may show cartilage damage and blood tests will rule out rheumatoid arthritis there is no conclusive tests which doctors can do in order to diagnose this particular condition.

Symptoms of arthritis, pain and swelling in the joints, are often present after the development of psoriasis (in 85% of the cases). Patients will often have inflammation of the knees, ankles and joints. Joints will feel stiff and pain and swelling will be worse in the morning then in the evening. Interestingly, the affected joints are painful and small and as well as hot and red but are not symmetrical as they are in rheumatoid arthritis.

Arthritic changes can occur in the spine and sacrum and patients can develop tendinitis which causes difficulty in walking. The most common tendency be affected is the Achilles’ tendon. Patients can also develop inflammation of the eyes which can result in blindness. Treatment includes corticosteroid injections to decrease inflammation around the optic nerve and prevent the damage to the patients sites. In some cases people will develop an acute case of acting in the middle years with pinning and enriching of the nail beds common in 80% of the patients diagnosed with psoriatic trick arthritis.

Treatment for psoriatic trick arthritis addresses the arthritic changes and pain but not the inflammation of other tissues. Doctors will prescribe nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs as well as exercise. Treatment is often symptomatic and when the symptoms go away, or the disease goes into remission, the doctor can make the decision to decrease or stop treatment altogether until the patient experiences another flareup.

If the disease progresses the doctor may consider using disease modifying antirheumatic drugs such as methotrexate, corticosteroids and anti-malarial medications. Both the doctor and the patient must away the changes in the joints against the side effects of the medication since most medications have significant side effects but also help the patient to live more comfortably.

As a last resort patients may consider a complete joint replacement to stop the course of the disease and lessen the pain. However, physicians usually wait until the patient have lost the ability to walk for any significant distance and is confined to a wheelchair when they leave their home.

Although devastating to the joints and soft tissue of the body, psoriatic trick arthritis can be controlled with correct medication and exercise programs. For this reason it is important to develop a rapid and accurate diagnosis to increase a patient’s comfort

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