Psoriatic Arthritis Treatment in Cumberland, MD
What Is Psoriatic Arthritis?
Over seven million Americans are diagnosed with psoriasis, a chronic skin condition that causes raised red patches or skin lesions covered with a crusty, whitish buildup of dead skin cells, called scales. One-third of psoriasis patients develop psoriatic arthritis (PsA), a type of inflammatory arthritis that attacks the joints. Usually, psoriasis appears first, and psoriatic arthritis comes later, but in 15 percent of psoriatic arthritis cases, arthritis appears before the skin disease surfaces.
Both psoriatic arthritis and psoriasis are chronic autoimmune diseases with various environmental and genetic factors at play. Psoriatic arthritis can manifest as a mild aching in the joints, or in the rare case of arthritis mutilans, severe damage to your joints can occur causing major deformity. However, early diagnosis and treatment can help prevent progressive joint damage.
If you think you may be suffering from arthritis, schedule a consultation with a qualified healthcare practitioner in Cumberland who specializes in psoriatic arthritis treatment. Call (724) 915-1049 or contact Medical Wellness Associates online.
Types of Psoriatic Arthritis
There are five types of psoriatic arthritis:
- Symmetric psoriatic arthritis causes damage to joints on both sides of the body (similar to rheumatoid arthritis and affects 50 percent of psoriatic arthritis cases)
- Asymmetric psoriatic arthritis causes damage to joints on just one side of the body (milder form that occurs in 35 percent of cases)
- Spondylitis causes pain and stiffness in the spine and neck
- Arthritis mutilans causes deformities in the small joints at the ends of the fingers and toes (most severe form seen in only 5 percent of patients)
- Distal psoriatic arthritis causes stiffness near the ends of the fingers and toes, as well as pitting, white spots and other changes to nails
Psoriatic Arthritis Causes
Both psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis occur when a compromised immune system attacks healthy tissue in the body, like your own skin and joints. This inappropriate autoimmune response creates inflammation that can manifest as redness, swelling, stiffness, and joint pain.
The etiology of both psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis is still not fully understood; however, both diseases have a strong genetic link. With psoriatic arthritis, 40 percent have a family history of either psoriasis or psoriatic arthritis. Children whose parents had psoriasis are three times as likely to have psoriasis and are at higher risk for developing psoriatic arthritis.
It is believed that the disease may lie dormant in your body until it is triggered by an outside factor like infection, stress or trauma. Other theories suggest it may be caused by a bacterium on the skin or the strep throat bacteria.
Psoriatic Arthritis Symptoms & Diagnosis
How do you know if you have psoriatic arthritis? One of the tell-tale symptoms of psoriatic arthritis is swelling that extends the entire length of your fingers and toes. Other frequently experienced psoriatic arthritis symptoms include:
- Painful, swollen joints in your lower back, ankles or knees
- Stiffness, especially morning stiffness or stiffness after rest
- Limited range of motion
- Tendon or ligament pain, including a condition called enthesitis, in which pain occurs where tendons and ligaments attach to the bones in the elbow (tennis elbow), foot (plantar fasciitis) or heel (Achilles tendinitis)
- Accompanying skin rashes and nail changes of psoriasis
- Chronic fatigue
- Inflammation of the eyes
- Pattern of symptoms flaring up then abating
People who have psoriatic arthritis commonly suffer from certain other diseases. High co-morbidity rates are seen with the following conditions:
- Crohn's disease and other forms of inflammatory bowel disease
- Interstitial lung disease with shortness of breath, coughing and fatigue
- Higher risk of heart attack and stroke due to blood vessel damage from chronic inflammation
- Metabolic syndrome (high blood pressure, high cholesterol, obesity)
- Osteopenia or osteoporosis
- Anemia with shortness of breath, fatigue and pale appearance
A physical examination and review of your medical history are necessary to make a psoriatic arthritis diagnosis, and CT scans, ultrasounds, MRIs and joint x-rays may be utilized to confirm the condition. A blood test to check the levels in the blood for elevated C-reactive protein or sedimentation rate (indicating acute or chronic inflammation) and negative tests for rheumatoid factor and anti-CCP (tests that help diagnosis certain other types of arthritis) may also be used.
How to Treat Psoriatic Arthritis
Your psoriatic arthritis treatment plan may involve certain changes to your diet and lifestyle, as well as specific psoriatic arthritis medications and possibly surgery. The type of treatment will also depend on how severe your symptoms are at the time of diagnosis.
With the goal of minimizing the inflammatory response and balancing your immune response, diet and lifestyle changes can positively impact both psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis. A psoriatic arthritis diet plan may include adding in more healthy fats like coconut oil or avocado, increasing intake of vegetables and fruits (especially berries), minimizing fatty meats, and eliminating sugar, unhealthy fats, processed foods and possibly dairy. In addition, quitting smoking is one of the most important lifestyle changes you can make.
Some treatments address joint issues, while others target the skin, and some attempt to disrupt the action of the autoimmune disorder. Treatments may include the use of:
- Rest with cold/heat therapy
- Regular exercise that does not stress joints
- Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)
- Corticosteroid injections
- Disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs (DMARDs) to suppress inflammation-causing chemicals, prevent joint damage and alleviate symptoms
- Biologics to arrest inflammation at the cellular level
Your healthcare provider will discuss potential side effects and complications that may arise with certain treatment options, particularly medication. Your psoriatic arthritis surgery options may include a synovectomy (to remove lining of a joint that is diseased), joint fusion (to stabilize the joint) or a psoriatic arthritis joint replacement (in cases of severe damage); however, surgery is rarely required.
All of these interventions can effectively slow damage to your joints and manage disabling symptoms of psoriatic arthritis. Request more information about psoriatic arthritis and psoriasis skin disease today. Call (724) 915-1049 or contact Medical Wellness Associates online.
Medical Wellness Associates
Jeannette, PA 15644
8:00 am - 7:30 pm
Tue: 9:00 am - 5:30 pm
Wed: 8:00 am - 7:30 pm
Thu: 8:00 am - 5:30 pm
Fri: 8:00 am - 2:00 pm
Sat: 8:00 am - 12:00 pm