Psoriatic arthritis is a type of inflammatory arthritis that can cause a range of symptoms, some of which may not appear until later stages of the disease. Given how the symptoms of psoriatic arthritis can be misdiagnosed, it’s helpful to research this information online before consulting a doctor.
What is Psoriatic Arthritis?
Psoriatic arthritis (PsA) is a chronic autoimmune disease that predominantly affects the skin and joints, causing the body to fight against itself. It affects approximately between 10-30% of people with psoriasis, a skin condition that causes red, scaly patches to appear on the skin. The progressive nature of PsA demands immediate intervention, as it tends to deteriorate progressively, potentially culminating in debilitating outcomes if left unchecked.
A myriad of symptoms characterize PsA, each unraveling gradually and sometimes not until the disease has advanced to later stages. Here are seven common symptoms to look out for, with the aim to equip individuals with knowledge and awareness regarding the disease.
Joint Pain and Stiffness
A predominant complaint among individuals with psoriatic arthritis is joint pain and stiffness. The pain is usually described as a dull ache that’s worse in the morning or after periods of inactivity. This stiffness often disrupts the routine, hindering mobility and making even simple tasks seem daunting.
Swelling and Tenderness
Inflammation of the joints is common in PsA, which can cause swelling and tenderness in the affected areas. This can also lead to a reduced range of motion and difficulty performing everyday tasks, from gripping objects to walking comfortably.
Skin Rashes and Lesions
Psoriasis is a common symptom of psoriatic arthritis, and can cause red, scaly patches to appear on the skin. These patches may be itchy, painful, or even develop into blisters or sores. In some cases, the affected skin might undergo thickening or discoloration.
Fatigue and Muscle Pain
Individuals with PsA often report profound fatigue and muscle pain, a draining experience that makes maintaining an active lifestyle a strenuous endeavor. This persistent fatigue can contribute to depression or anxiety, accentuating the necessity for strategies that support mental health.
The disease often leaves its mark on the nails, causing changes such as pitting, the development of ridges, or even separation from the nail bed. These changes, present in both the fingernails and toenails, serve as less noticeable indicator of PsA. Though less noticeable, nail changes occur in 40 percent of psoriasis patients and up to 80 percent of those who have PsA.
Psoriatic arthritis can cause various eye problems, ranging from mild to severe. Redness, pain, and vision changes are among the most common symptoms. Some individuals may also experience a condition called uveitis, which is a serious inflammation of the middle layer of the eye. Uveitis can cause pain, blurred vision, and sensitivity to light. If left untreated, it can lead to permanent vision loss. It’s important for individuals with PsA to have regular eye exams and report any changes or symptoms to their doctor.
Inflammatory Bowel Disease
Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), such as Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis, is more common in individuals with PsA than in the general population. The symptoms of IBD can include abdominal pain, diarrhea, and weight loss.
The relationship between PsA and IBD is not yet fully understood, but researchers believe that both conditions share common genetic and environmental factors. Treatment for IBD may include medications, nutrition and dietary changes, lifestyle modifications, supportive therapies (such as physical therapy, counselling, and pain management) and in some cases, surgery.
When To See a Doctor
If you experience any of these symptoms, it’s important to see a doctor as soon as possible. Early diagnosis and treatment can help prevent further damage to the joints and improve overall quality of life. Treatment for PsA may include medication, physical therapy, or lifestyle changes.
Encountering any combination of the aforementioned symptoms necessitates immediate medical attention. An early diagnosis, complemented by a strategic treatment plan, can mitigate further joint damage and enhance the overall quality of life.
Start a Search To Learn More
Arming oneself with knowledge about psoriatic arthritis and adopting a proactive approach towards its management can be instrumental in navigating the intricacies of this disease. So start a search to learn more and stay on top of cutting-edge treatment options!
Remember, knowing what to look for could result in a timely consultation with a healthcare provider, which can potentially steer the course of this disease towards a more manageable pathway, leading to a better quality of life in the long run.