Trigger: You Eat Too Many Sweets
Indulging your sweet tooth every so often is okay, but doing so on a daily basis could be worsening your PsA symptoms. Eating too many sugary treats can cause the body to release pro-inflammatory cytokines, Jen Bruning, MS, RD, registered dietitian nutritionist and spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition & Dietetics previously told CreakyJoints. Since cytokine levels are already high when you have inflammatory arthritis, the extra cytokines only exacerbate the inflammation, which causes pain, swelling, and stiffness in your joints.
But sweet treats arent the only dietary culprits to be aware of. Processed meats and refined carbs, like white bread, pasta, and rice, are also known to increase inflammation.
Following an anti-inflammatory diet, which focuses on whole, plant-based foods, could help manage symptoms. Additionally, Dr. Bose says limiting inflammatory foods like red meat and sugary treats helps both with managing inflammation and reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease and other comorbidities that accompany PsA.
Occurrence In The United States
According to the National Psoriasis Foundation, psoriatic arthritis affects about 1 million people in the United States, or about 30% of all persons with psoriasis. However, prevalence rates vary widely among studies. In one population-based study, less than 10% of patients with psoriasis developed clinically recognized psoriatic arthritis during a 30-year period. A random telephone survey of 27,220 US residents found a 0.25% prevalence rate for psoriatic arthritis in the general population and an 11% prevalence rate in patients with psoriasis. However, the exact frequency of the disorder in patients with psoriasis remains uncertain, with the estimated rate ranging from 5-30%.
Moreover, since the late 20th century, the incidence of psoriatic arthritis appears to have been rising in both men and women. Reasons for the increase are unknown it may be related to a true change in incidence or to a greater overall awareness of the diagnosis by physicians.
Six Symptoms You Shouldnt Ignore
The symptoms of psoriatic arthritis can vary in severity, from person to person and can even come and go . Here are six symptoms you should watch out for.
1. Its hard to move in the morning
Psoriatic arthritis can make getting up in the morning a challenge, especially after you havent moved around for a while. It can cause stiffness and pain in one or more joints, from your toes to your fingers. It can even cause pain and swelling in the tendons and surrounding structures that connect to your bone, a condition called enthesitis.
2. Your fingers look like warm sausages
About 30 to 50 percent of patients with psoriatic arthritis will experience the symptoms of dactylitis, or extreme swelling in their fingers and toes, Dr. Aquino said. This is when the entire fingers and toes swell to resemble sausages.
You may notice your swollen joints feel warm to the touch because inflammation and swelling cause heat.
3. You have lower back pain
When you think of psoriatic arthritis, you typically think about skin symptoms, but many people experience lower back pain as well. About 20 percent of those with psoriatic arthritis will develop a subtype called spinal involvement or psoriatic spondylitis, which may result in pain and stiffness in the back and hips, Dr. Aquino said.
4. Your nails have grooves and ridges
5. You experience eye problems
6. Youre always tired
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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.
Homeopathic Treatment For Psoriatic Arthritis:
Homeopathy is a medical system that treats the whole person. It focuses on your specific symptoms and personal experience with any conditionnot just your lab test results or diagnosisto determine the appropriate remedy to alleviate your suffering. More than 2500 homeopathic remediesexist, most of which can be taken by mouth . When choosing one for you, your homeopath will consider your constitutional type as well as all of your individualized symptoms to find the best remedy to give you relief. Although its impossible to say precisely what treatment would help without examining you first, you must visit a registered homeopahty doctor for detailed information. You can book an appointment through OHO Homeopathy now!
When To Seek Medical Advice
You should speak to your GP if you experience constant pain, swelling or stiffness in your joints even if you haven’t been diagnosed with psoriasis.
If you have been diagnosed with psoriasis, you should have check-ups at least once a year to monitor your condition. Make sure you let your doctor know if you’re experiencing any problems with your joints.
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 Other Symptoms
Fatigue People with PsA often experience generalized fatigue. Fatigue may appear as extreme tiredness, difficulty keeping eyes open, or flu-like symptoms. Patients also reported symptoms such as lack of motivation and loss of appetite in conjunction with fatigue. Fatigue can be experienced very differently depending on the person. No two individuals experiences are the same, even for people that have the same underlying health condition, like PsA.
Eye Problems – People with PsA are somewhat are significantly more likely than the average person to develop eye problems . Of the eye problems that people with psoriasis develop, the most common is Uveitis, which is an inflammatory disease process internal to the eyes . Uveitis refers to a group of inflammatory diseases of the eye from various causes that produce swelling and destroy eye tissue. Symptoms of uveitis include vision loss which can range from slight to severe loss of vision.
Early treatment is important to reduce the risk of complications, and patients with eye pain, severe light sensitivity, or any change in vision should immediately see an ophthalmologist for examination.
What Are The Symptoms Of Psa
PsA can affect any joint in the body. It can affect one joint or several joints , fingernails, toenails, and tendons where they join onto the bone. Some of the symptoms of PsA include:
- Feeling tired.
- Swollen fingers and toes that look like sausages.
- Stiffness, pain, throbbing, swelling, and tenderness in one or more joints.
- A reduced range of motion.
- Feeling stiff and tired in the morning.
- Changes in fingernails or toenails, such as the nail separating from the nail bed or becoming pitted .
The symptoms of PsA come and go and are not the same for everyone. A person may have symptoms that affect different parts of his or her body at different times. For example, some people may not have signs of skin and/or nail problems and may have only joint pain and swelling.
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Trigger: You Scratch Your Skin Plaques
Psoriasis a chronic skin disease that causes red, itchy, scaly skin patches called plaques is associated with psoriatic arthritis. As tempting as it may be, scratching or picking at those scales can traumatize or injure the skin, which can result is a psoriatic flare. Try applying a cool compress to relieve the itch or gently moisturize your skin. Not only will that help quell the urge to scratch, but any kind of moisturizer will change the reflective properties of the scale so its harder to see, according to experts at the American Academy of Dermatology. Talk to your dermatologist about topical therapies and the best ways to manage psoriasis plaques, as good control of skin symptoms is key to managing psoriatic arthritis, says Dr. Bose.
Warning Signs Of Psoriatic Arthritis
Psoriatic arthritis is a type of arthritis that affects 30% of people with psoriasis, according to the National Psoriasis Foundation. With PsA, your immune system attacks your own body, especially the skin and joints. PsA can mimic other forms of arthritis, such as gout, rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis, says Dr. H. Kevin Jones, FAAOS,, a board-certified orthopedic surgeon at Beaufort Memorial Orthopaedic Specialists. Blood tests can point to other similar conditions and check for signs of inflammation. We can also order X-rays to look for bone and joint changes.
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How Is Psoriatic Arthritis Treated
Treatment will depend on your symptoms, age, and general health. It will also depend on the severity of your condition.
Boththe skin condition and the joint inflammation are treated. Early diagnosis andtreatment helps prevent joint damage. Some medicines used to treat psoriatic arthritisinclude:
- Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medicines to ease symptoms
- Corticosteroids for inflammation
- Immunosuppressive medicines such as methotrexate to reduce inflammation if NSAIDs don’t work
- Biologic medicines to ease inflammation
- Vitamins and minerals such as calcium and vitamin D to slow bone deformation
Other treatment may include:
Focusing On People With Psoriasis
Most people with psoriatic arthritis have psoriasis first. For a small percentage of patients, psoriatic arthritis occurs before psoriasis, although most often they will have a first-degree relative with skin psoriasis, notes Dr. Haberman. Still, others have no skin psoriasis or dont notice the psoriasis hidden in areas like the scalp, umbilicus, and gluteal fold.
Read more about the connection between psoriasis and PsA.
Up to 30 percent of patients with psoriasis will go on to develop psoriatic arthritis, says Dr. Haberman. The majority of cases begin with the skin condition and then progress to joint pain within seven to 10 years. Recent studies have found that patients with psoriasis who develop severe fatigue, heel pain, and joint pain without overt swelling are more likely to develop PsA.
While we dont yet know which individual patients with psoriasis will go onto develop PsA, researchers have identified a few potential risk factors for the progression of PsA, including:
- Family history of psoriatic arthritis
- Psoriasis that affects the scalp and groin
- Nail involvement in psoriasis, such as nail pitting
- Being overweight or obese. PsA is worse in patients who are overweight and often biologics may not work as effectively in people who are overweight, says Dr. Haberman.
- Exposure to certain infections
- Physical trauma
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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.
Trigger: You Skip Your Meds
If your disease is well-controlled, and you miss only a dose of a long-acting medication, like methotrexate , you may be okay, Dr. Bose says. But if you have ongoing symptoms or an aggressive disease course, missing doses may lead to an increased risk of worsening symptoms or disease activity. A 2018 study published in the Journal of Rheumatology found that 73 percent of psoriatic arthritis patients who stopped their biologic medication after disease activity decreased experienced a recurrence in symptoms. If your treatment isnt working for you or you have a hard time sticking to your regimen, talk to your rheumatologist about other options and ideas to help you stay on track. And to help avoid forgetting a dose, set a reminder on your smartphone or link taking your meds to part of your daily or weekly routine, like brushing your teeth or doing the laundry.
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How Is Psoriatic Arthritis Treated In A Child
Treatment will depend on your childs symptoms, age, and general health. It will also depend on how severe the condition is.
The treatment team will include your child’s primary healthcare provider. It will also include a pediatric rheumatologist, and an ophthalmologist.
Treatment is done for both the skin condition and the joint inflammation. Some medicines used to treat psoriatic arthritis include:
Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs to relieve symptoms. These include aspirin, ibuprofen, and naproxen.
Medicines that weaken the bodys immune system . These can be used to ease inflammation if NSAIDs are not working.
Vitamins and minerals to slow bone deformities. These include calcium and vitamin D.
Biologic medicines such as infliximab
Corticosteroids to ease redness and swelling
Other treatment may include:
Ultraviolet light treatment
Heat and cold
Physical therapy to improve and keep muscle and joint function
Occupational therapy to improve ability to do activities of daily living
Managing the psoriasis skin rash
Surgery to fix or replace a damaged joint
Living With Psoriatic Arthritis
There is no cure for psoriatic arthritis. But you can reduce your symptoms by stickingto your treatment plan. Manage pain with medicine, acupuncture, and meditation. Getenough exercise. Good exercises include yoga, swimming, walking, and bicycling. Workwith a physical or occupational therapist. He or she can suggest devices to help you withyour daily tasks.
How Is Psoriatic Arthritis Diagnosed In A Child
Psoriatic arthritis is easier to confirm if your child already has psoriasis. If the skin symptoms have not yet occurred, diagnosis is more difficult. Your childs healthcare provider will take your childs medical history and do a physical exam. The provider will ask about your child’s symptoms. Your child may have blood tests such as:
Erythrocyte sedimentation rate . This test looks at how quickly red blood cells fall to the bottom of a test tube. When swelling and inflammation are present, the blood’s proteins clump together and become heavier than normal. They fall and settle faster at the bottom of the test tube. The faster the blood cells fall, the more severe the inflammation.
Uric acid. High blood uric acid levels are linked to psoriatic arthritis.
Complete blood count . This test checks for low counts of red blood cells , white blood cells, and platelets.
Antibody blood tests. These tests are done to look for certain kinds of proteins, called antibodies, in your blood. These tests can be positive for many kinds of rheumatic diseases. Younger children are more likely to have a positive antinuclear antibody test.
Other tests may include:
X-rays. This test uses a small amount of radiation to create images of organs, bones, and other tissues.
Eye exam. This is done by a pediatric eye doctor . The exam looks for uveitis, a swelling of the middle layer of the eye.
Trigger: Youre Not Exercising
Normally when you sustain an injury, youre supposed to rest or you risk making things worse. But when your joint pain is due to psoriatic arthritis, its important to avoid inactivity. Lack of use leads to stiffness and muscle weakness, whereas regular exercise keeps your joints flexible and muscles strong. A 2021 research review published in the journal Clinical Rheumatology found exercise helped improved disease activity, muscle strength, and well-being, as well as helped reduce some cardiovascular risk factors in people with psoriatic arthritis.
And you dont have to be dripping in sweat to reap the benefits. According to the American College of Rheumatology, walking is an easy, low-impact way to move your body without putting too much pressure on the joints. For extra protection, consider using a walking aid or shoe inserts to help avoid undue stress on feet, ankles, or knees affected by arthritis. Other good options include exercise bikes, swimming, and yoga.
Before starting any new exercise routines, you should talk to your doctor. They may recommend seeing a physical or occupational therapist who can help you find which types of activities are best for you, and at what level or pace you should do them.