Psoriatic Arthritis: Throught the skin to the joints

Although it reminds of rheumatoid arthritis, psoriatic arthritis does not create the characteristic RA antibodies. A negative rheumatoid factor test result helps to distinguish psoriatic from rheumatoid arthritis. Psoriatic arthritis attacks about 10% of the people suffering from psoriasis. Psoriatic arthritis can develop at any moment regardless of age, but it usually develops in people between 30 and 50, in which, it seems, hereditary factors play a considerable role in increasing the risk of the disease.

Causes and symptoms

Psoriasis (a skin disease which causes onsets of red patches and a rash which causes the skin to peel and nails to harden and deform) can be preceded or followed by a joint inflammation. Psoriatic arthritis usually affects joints of the knuckles. In cases of a chronic inflammation the joints can swell or even deform.

What can be done?

The treatment is usually focused on reducing the rash and calming the joint inflammation. Some drugs used for treating rheumatoid arthritis are also used to treat psoriatic arthritis. These include gold compounds, Methotrexate, Cyclosporine and Sulfasalazine. Another medicine, Etretinate, is usually successful in treating severe cases, but it can lead to severe side-effects.

Source: Excerpt from the book "Living with arthritis"

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