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How To Determine If You Have Psoriatic Arthritis

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6 Facts about Psoriatic Arthritis

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Caspar Criteria For Diagnosis

Diagnosing psoriatic arthritis relies on markers in an established system called the Classification Criteria for Psoriatic Arthritis .

The criteria are each assigned a point value. Each one has a value of 1 point except for current psoriasis, which has a value of 2 points.

The criteria are as follows:

  • current psoriasis outbreak
  • personal or family history of psoriasis
  • swollen fingers or toes, known as dactylitis
  • nail problems, like separation from the nail bed
  • bone growths near a joint that are visible on an X-ray
  • absence of rheumatoid factor

A person must have at least 3 points based on the CASPAR criteria to be diagnosed with psoriatic arthritis.

How Can I Help Myself

Dont be too hard on yourself that means dont feel guilty because on some days you cant be as active as others. Psoriatic arthritis can affect any age group, not just those in later life! Just because you may look fit and well to others, is not a reason for you to justify yourself to them when you are feeling unwell.

Good compliance with your medications is key, as is keeping up with regular hospital visits with your rheumatologist and dermatologist.

Make sure you get the best out of your hospital visits in the time allocated to you. Go over in your head the things you need to get covered in the consultation. Make sure you know of all the side effects on treatment options offered to you talk these over with your consultants and specialist nurses at the hospital clinics.

Try to keep a positive approach to your illness, learn to live alongside it.

If you need to talk about your feelings, make sure you do, choose a caring person you can relate to. Sometimes a problem shared is indeed a problem halved.

If you feel you need some support, ask a family member or a friend to come with you to the hospital appointment. This can sometimes be very helpful, if the doctor is firing questions at you, there may be some things you forget, that a partner can help with too. Make it a team effort, feel supported. Remember you are always entitled to get a second opinion if you are unsure about previous medical advice given.

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What Organs Does Psoriatic Arthritis Affect

Yes, psoriatic arthritis can wreak havoc on your joints and skin, but it can also cause problems in other parts of your body. Thats because psoriatic arthritis causes systemic inflammationfrom your eyes to your heart, says Dr. Askanase. It can involve the eyes with uveitis, the gut with inflammatory bowel disease, your heart with early cardiovascular disease, lung inflammation, and liver and kidney problems. In other words, psoriatic arthritis can be a disease of the whole body, she says.

That said, while psoriatic can increase your risk for these other conditions, it doesnt mean that you will get them. Its a good idea to talk with your healthcare team about how to reduce any risk factors you might have, including getting your PsA under control and tweaking your treatment plan, if necessary. These things will help reduce your risk of complications.

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What Are The Symptoms Of Psoriatic Arthritis

The symptoms of psoriatic arthritis may be gradual and subtle in some patients in others, they may be sudden and dramatic. It may be mild, affecting only one joint or can be severe, affecting multiple joints. Not all patients experience all symptoms.

The most common symptoms of psoriatic arthritis are:

Joint symptoms
  • Pain or aching, tenderness, and/or swelling in one or more joints – most commonly hands, feet, wrists, ankles, knees.
  • Joint stiffness most notable in the morning or with prolonged inactivity such as sitting for a long time.
  • Reduced range of motion in affected joints.
  • Pain or stiffness in the lower back.
  • Tenderness, pain, or swelling where tendons and ligaments attach to the bone , such as the Achilles tendon of the heel.
  • Swelling of an entire finger or toe with a sausage-like appearance .
Skin symptoms
  • Silver or gray scaly spots on the scalp, elbows, knees, and/or the lower spine.
  • Small, round spots called papules that are raised and sometimes scaly on the arms, legs and torso.
  • Pitting of the nails.
  • Detachment or lifting of fingernails or toenails.
Other symptoms

Psoriatic Arthritis Imaging Test: X

X-rays, which use low-dose radiation to produce images of the inside of the body, can help your doctor make a psoriatic arthritis diagnosis and monitor progression of the autoimmune condition.

X-rays allow the doctor to see changes to the bone, says Elyse Rubenstein, MD, a rheumatologist in Santa Monica, California. In people with psoriatic arthritis, X-rays may show bone erosion, new bone formation, bone fusion, or a phenomenon called pencil in a cup, in which the ends of the bone have been eroded to a pencillike point. Any of these changes indicate that the disease is getting worse, Dr. Rubenstein says.

Frequency of Testing A doctor may take an initial X-ray to help diagnose psoriatic arthritis and rule out other forms of arthritis, such as rheumatoid arthritis, which have different patterns of joint involvement, says Rubenstein.

After that, how often you have X-rays depends on your physician and the state of your disease. Some doctors take X-rays just once a year for routine monitoring, while others may take them only when a patients condition changes.

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    Diagnosing Psoriatic Arthritis

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    You Have Pain Or Burning In Your Elbow

    A condition called tennis elbow can sometimes show up as a symptom of psoriatic arthritis, even if youve never picked up a racquet. Again, this has to do with the inflammation that happens in spots where your tendons connect to bones, says Dr. Rosenstein. You might notice pain or burning in the external part of your elbow, along with poor grip strength, per the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons.

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    Psoriatic Arthritis Imaging Test: Bone Mineral Density

    The most common bone mineral density test is called DXA , for dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry. This test uses X-rays to measure how many grams of calcium and other bone minerals are packed into a segment of bone. The denser the bones, the stronger and healthier they are.

    Unfortunately, common psoriatic arthritis medications such as prednisone, a corticosteroid can weaken bones over time and increase the risk of osteoporosis. And psoriatic arthritis itself is associated with a decrease in bone mineral density, notes Rubenstein.

    If youre diagnosed with osteopenia, a condition involving weakened bones that may lead to osteoporosis, your doctor will discuss medications that can slow or stop bone loss, and may recommend calcium and vitamin D supplements along with resistance exercise, says Rubenstein.

    Frequency of Testing Bone density screening is done during menopause and every one to two years after that, says Rubenstein. If a patient is on prednisone or other medications that decrease bone mineral density, the test may be done earlier and repeated every one to two years.

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    Who Will Be Responsible For My Healthcare

    Youre likely to see a team of healthcare professionals.

    Your doctor, usually a rheumatologist, will be responsible for your overall care. And a specialist nurse may help monitor your condition and treatments. A skin specialist called a dermatologist may be responsible for the treatment of your psoriasis.

    You may also see:

    • A physiotherapist, who can advise on exercises to help maintain your mobility.
    • An occupational therapist, who can help you protect your joints, for example, by using splints for the wrist or knee braces. You may be advised to change the way you do some tasks to reduce the strain on your joints.
    • A podiatrist, who can assess your footcare needs and offer advice onspecial insoles and good supportive footwear.

    Does Psoriatic Arthritis Cause Numbness In Toes

    Tracie Roberts has been suffering from psoriatic arthritis. She has ...

    The simple answer is yes, arthritis can cause sensations of numbness, tingling or burning. This could be due to a number of reasons, but is indicative of nerve involvement. Inflammation in the joints due to arthritis can lead to compression of the nerves resulting in a loss of sensation.

    Is psoriatic arthritis worse than rheumatoid? A study published in 2015 in the journal PLoS One found that the overall pain, joint pain, and fatigue reported by psoriatic arthritis patients was significantly greater than that reported by people with rheumatoid arthritis.

    What is axial PsA?

    PreviousNext. Psoriatic arthritis is a chronic inflammatory musculoskeletal disease that has 5 disease domains: peripheral arthritis, axial disease, dactylitis, enthesitis, and skin and nail disease1.

    Is psoriatic arthritis a serious disease? PsA can be a serious chronic inflammatory condition that can cause significant pain and, in severe cases, disability. But its possible to manage your condition through medications and lifestyle changes. In most cases, the joint pain and inflammation caused by PsA respond well to treatment.

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    How Are Psoriatic Arthritis Symptoms Different From Other Forms Of Arthritis

    When people generally talk about arthritis, oftentimes they are referring to osteoarthritis, which is very different from inflammatory forms of the disease, like psoriatic arthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. Osteoarthritis occurs from general wear and tear of the cartilage in the joints as we age, while psoriatic arthritis occurs due to inflammation of the joints from an autoimmune reaction.

    While both conditions can cause joint pain, the nail symptoms of psoriatic arthritis, such as pitted nails or nails that separate from the nail bed, are not seen as much in osteoarthritis, according to a 2021 study published in Rheumatology and Therapy.7 Another defining feature of psoriatic arthritisswollen fingers and toes that resemble sausagesis not characteristic of osteoarthritis. And, since osteoarthritis does not cause systemic inflammation, you wont see areas outside of the joints affected, like you do with psoriatic arthritis .

    Since the different types of arthritis can sometimes have similar symptoms, it really is important to talk with your doctor if you are experiencing any kind of joint pain, swelling, or stiffness that you didnt have before. A proper diagnosis is the first step to feeling better.

    Things To Know About Psoriatic Arthritis

    Learn more about what it means to have psoriatic arthritis.

    1. PsA Is an Autoimmune Disease
    2. It Has Ups and Downs, Called Flares
    3. It Can Be a Master of Disguise
    4. It Has Distinguishing Features
    5. It Affects Up to a Third of People with Psoriasis
    6. Its Gender Neutral
    7. It May be Hereditary
    8. Its Not Contagious
    9. It Isnt Just About Your Joints
    10. You May Not Look Sick
    11. Effective Treatment is Available


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    Psoriatic Arthritis Blood Test: Erythrocyte Sedimentation Rate

    Erythrocyte sedimentation rate, or ESR or sed rate, is a blood test that measures inflammation in the body, which helps determine a psoriatic arthritis diagnosis, explains Elaine Husni, MD, MPH, vice chair of rheumatology and director of the Arthritis and Musculoskeletal Center at the Cleveland Clinic.

    The test measures how many milliliters of red blood cells settle per hour in a vial of blood. When swelling and inflammation are present, the bloods proteins clump together and become heavier as a result, they will fall and settle faster at the bottom of the test tube, according to Johns Hopkins Medicine.

    As with many blood tests, labs each have their own, slightly different reading of what ESR numbers mean, which they interpret based on past results, explains Cadet. Age is also a factor. ESR can be elevated slightly in elderly patients and still be normal for that person, she says.

    Frequency of Testing In addition to diagnosis, Testing may be done several times a year to determine if theres ongoing inflammation, says Cadet.

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    Imaging Tests For Psoriatic Arthritis

    How do you treat Psoriatic Arthritis? An Overview.

    Imaging tests can help your doctor closely examine your bones and joints. Some of the imaging tests your doctor may use include:

    • X rays. X-rays arent always useful in diagnosing early stage psoriatic arthritis. As the disease progresses, your doctor may use imaging tests to see changes in the joints that are characteristic of this type of arthritis.
    • MRI scans. An MRI alone cant diagnose psoriatic arthritis, but it may help detect problems with your tendons and ligaments, or sacroiliac joints.
    • CT scans. These are used primarily to examine joints that are deep in the body and not easily seen on x-rays, such as in the spine and pelvis.
    • Ultrasounds. These tests can help determine the progression of joint involvement and pinpoint the location.

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