How Will Psoriatic Arthritis Affect Me
Starting the right treatment as soon as possible will give you the best chance of keeping your arthritis under control and minimise damage to your body.
Psoriatic arthritis can vary a great deal between different people. This makes it difficult to offer advice on what you should expect.
It will usually have some effect on your ability to get around and your quality of life, but treatment will reduce the effect it has.
Psoriatic arthritis can cause long-term damage to joints, bones and other tissues in the body, especially if it isnt treated.
You’re A Psoriatic Arthritis Expert
Most people who have psoriatic arthritis usually do research on symptoms and new therapies after they’ve lived with the condition for a time. They also take it on themselves to talk about their findings with people close to them. Its important to educate the people around you, says Rabe. I consider myself an expert because I’m always researching and learning about my disease, which makes me comfortable answering questions to help my loved ones better understand what Im going through.
Your Energy Level Is Like A Bank Account
Psoriatic arthritis can cause extreme fatigue. For every task you complete, or plan to complete, you drain your daily energy bank. Putting on mascara or talking to a neighbor on the street costs you energy. And sometimes, even if its the first thing you do after waking up, a shower may be all it takes to put you right back in bed.
Its important to rest when you need to and not push yourself too hard, especially on days when your symptoms are particularly severe, says Joseph Markenson, MD, a rheumatologist at Hospital for Special Surgery in New York City. Its also important for the loved ones of those who have psoriatic arthritis to understand how draining the condition can be for example, people with psoriatic arthritis may have to cancel plans frequently or head home early.
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Big Reasons To See A Rheumatologist: Symptoms Disorders & Concerns
A bit of joint pain or inflammation probably doesnt ring any warning bells, but they might be symptoms of a severe underlying condition. After reading this post, you might want to schedule an appointment with your rheumatologist. Here, well talk about:
The basics of rheumatology
An overview of the most common rheumatic conditions
How to make the most out of your first visit with a rheumatologist
When To Get Medical Advice
See a GP if you have persistent pain, swelling or stiffness in your joints even if you have not been diagnosed with psoriasis.
If you’ve been diagnosed with psoriasis, you should have check-ups at least once a year to monitor your condition. Make sure you let the doctor know if you’re experiencing any problems with your joints.
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When Should I See A Rheumatologist
It is important to see a rheumatologist as soon as possible when you notice signs of psoriatic arthritis . Common symptoms can include stiffness, pain, swelling and tenderness in the joints, tendons or ligaments. You may also experience swelling, fatigue and changes in the nails . Untreated PsA can cause permanent joint damage.
Early diagnosis and treatment can help slow the disease and control symptoms. It can help keep your joints healthy, improve your range of movement, reduce your pain and tiredness, and prevent permanent joint damage.
I Feel At A Loss Sometimes Depressed Is This Normal
Yes, this is a very normal process, a form of mourning and coming to terms with the fact that you have arthritis, and some things may have to change in your lifestyle to compensate, making things easier for you. Dont panic, try to work through your feelings, talking with a partner or someone close to you, If the feelings don’t pass, see your doctor who may be able to refer you to some form of short-term counselling.
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Physical Exam And Medical History
Your healthcare provider will want to know all about your symptoms and medical history. Questions he or she may ask include:
- What symptoms are you experiencing?
- When did your symptoms begin?
- What causes your symptoms to improve? To worsen?
- How do your symptoms affect your life?
- Do you have any other medical conditions?
Psoriasis, an inflammatory skin condition characterized by rough red patches of skin with silvery-white flakes, is closely related to psoriatic arthritis. In fact, about 85% of people with psoriatic arthritis develop before joint .
Your provider will also ask you about your familys health. Approximately 40% of people with psoriatic arthritis have a family member with psoriasis or arthritis.
During your physical exam, your healthcare provider will focus on any areas giving you trouble, such as your joints. He or she may ask you to move in a particular manner to assess your range of motion and ease of movement. Your provider will also conduct a head-to-toe exam. Psoriatic plaquesthe rough skin patches associated with and psoriatic arthritissometimes hide in difficult-to-see areas, such as behind the ear, in the belly button, and between the buttocks.
Your provider may order some laboratory tests. If so, a technician will draw blood from you, and the sample will be sent to a lab for analysis. Blood tests used to check for psoriatic arthritis include:
What Is A Dermatologist
A dermatologist is a doctor who primarily treats conditions related to the skin. This also includes conditions that affect the nails and hair. According to the American Academy of Dermatology , dermatologists work with more than 3,000 related diseases, including psoriasis.
Dermatologists are often the first points of contact for those with PsA. This is especially the case for those who have psoriasis, but havent yet received a diagnosis for the arthritis component. A dermatologist treating a someone with psoriasis might ask about joint pain or stiffness, as these are common indicators of possible PsA.
In treating PsA, a dermatologist may prescribe topical ointments to minimize itchiness and pain as well as prescription medication. Light therapy might also be used in the dermatologists office.
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What Kind Of Doctor Do You See For Arthritis
Youll likely see a number of different types of doctors over the course of your RA treatment. Heres how to talk to your doctor about rheumatoid arthritis. Youll likely see a number of different types of doctors over the course of your RA treatment.
When to See Your Doctor About Arthritis. weight loss, and a rash may be signs that you have one of the 100 types of arthritis and that you need to be see a doctor.
What to Do If You Suspect Arthritis Verywell Health If you are noticing aches and pain or stiffness and believe you may have arthritis, what should you do? What symptoms should prompt you to see your doctor?
How Rheumatoid Arthritis is Diagnosed Getting Tested. Nov 18, 2015. Based on the symptoms, your blood tests may indicate that it’s possible you have some kind of inflammatory arthritis and your doctor will give you a referral to a. You may also want to do a bit of research about RA and its treatment so you can prepare questions to ask when you see the rheumatologist.
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What To Look For In A Health Professional
- Experience treating your condition. The more experience your doctor has with your condition, generally, the more adept he will be at recognizing and treating it. For example, a doctor who has little experience with fibromyalgia might not be as quick to make a diagnosis and prescribe effective treatment as one whos spent a lot of time with such patients.
- Up-to-date knowledge. Arthritis research advances continuously. Make sure your doctor is on top of the latest studies so he can provide the best care.
- Accessibility. A doctor who cant see you for weeks or return calls when youre in the midst of a medication reaction or a flare can make you feel like a second-rate patient.
- Willingness to fight. A good doctor will go to bat for you with your insurance company if they dont want to cover a specialist referral, surgical procedure or prescribed medication.
- A solid office staff. Your doctor may be wonderful, but if her staff loses your phone messages, deletes your e-mail, fails to do what they say they will or treats you rudely when you call or visit, consider looking elsewhere.
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Start With A Psoriatic Arthritis Specialist
Managing the complex symptoms of PsA requires a multidisciplinary approach to treatment, beginning with a rheumatologist.
A rheumatologist has training in arthritis and related diseases and is best equipped to treat psoriatic arthritis, says Harris H. McIlwain, MD, a rheumatologist in Tampa, Florida, who has treated patients with psoriatic arthritis for more than 25 years.
In order to make a PsA diagnosis, a rheumatologist will do a physical exam, discuss your family history, run laboratory tests, and order any other necessary scans or X-rays. With this information, the doctor can prescribe an effective treatment plan.
When deciding on a rheumatologist, make sure to choose one that you feel comfortable with. Do you prefer a male or female physician? Young, middle-aged, or older? Does the physician conduct clinical research and have access to the latest treatments? You also want to make sure that the office hours and location are convenient for you.
How Can I Help Myself
Dont be too hard on yourself that means don’t 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 Are The Symptoms
Psoriatic arthritis can affect any joint in the body and symptoms can vary from person to person. It can develop slowly with mild symptoms, or come on quickly and be severe. The most common symptoms are:
- pain, swelling and stiffness in one or more joints
- pain and stiffness in the buttocks, lower back or neck
- pain in tendons, such as at the back of the heel or sole of the foot
- changes in nails, such as thickening, colour change or separation from the skin
- pain and redness in the eyes.
What Can Blood Tests Tell Me Or The Doctor
To make a diagnosis of psoriatic arthritis most doctors would require you to have psoriasis, or a history of psoriasis in a close relative, together with arthritis and inflammation in at least one joint. If several joints are affected the doctor would expect to find a pattern of joints involved which matches one of the patterns usually seen in psoriatic arthritis. Blood tests for rheumatoid arthritis are usually negative but often blood tests of general inflammation in the blood are positive. These latter bloods are called the erythrocyte sedimentation rate C-Reactive protein or plasma viscosity all are measures of inflammation and abnormal, if the value exceeds a certain level.
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How Is It Diagnosed
Your doctor will diagnose psoriatic arthritis from your symptoms and a physical examination. Your skin will be examined for signs of psoriasis, if you have not been diagnosed with this already. There is no specific test for psoriatic arthritis. However your doctor may order blood tests for inflammation, such as the erythrocyte sedimentation rate test. Blood tests may also help to rule out other types of arthritis. If your doctor suspects you have psoriatic arthritis you should be referred to a rheumatologist, a doctor who specialises in arthritis.
Do Dermatologists And Rheumatologists Ever Work Together
- Combined rheumatology-dermatology clinics are a newer frontier in the treatment of psoriatic arthritis, with just over 20 clinics in the United States
- Depending on the clinic, some rheumatologists and dermatologists may see a patient at the same time in the same room. Sometimes, separate back-to-back visits are required
- Studies show this combined care approach could achieve better outcomes for both skin and musculoskeletal symptoms
- A survey from the Psoriasis and Psoriatic Arthritis Clinic Multicenter Advancement Network found over 80% of doctors thought a combined clinic accelerated an accurate diagnosis
- Challenges are largely related to scheduling and billing
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Are There Different Kinds Of Psoriatic Arthritis
The most common type of psoriatic arthritis is symmetric psoriatic arthritis where joints in the same location on both sides of the body become inflamed and painful at the same time. In asymmetric psoriatic arthritis, joints in different parts of the body become affected simultaneously. And in distal psoriatic arthritis, the ends of the fingers and toes swell and stiffen, accompanied by pitting and peeling nails.
Some people with PsA develop a mild form of the disease with infrequent flare-ups of symptoms. Others suffer from a more aggressive condition where severe and frequent inflammation leads to debilitating pain and joint damage.
What Treatments Are There For Psoriatic Arthritis
Your rheumatologist will tailor your treatment to your symptoms and how severe your condition is. There is no way of predicting exactly which treatment will work best for you. Your doctor may need to trial several different treatments before finding the one that is right for you and may include medicines, such as:
- non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs
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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 Does Psoriatic Arthritis Treatment Work
Your rheumatologist may prescribe non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs for pain management and to reduce inflammation. Additionally, corticosteroids may be taken by mouth or injection to help reduce inflammation.
Conventional Disease-Modifying Anti-Rheumatic Drugs such as methotrexate may be used to reduce the damage from inflammation. The newest biologically-based, targeted medicines can dramatically reduce the underlying components which cause inflammation at the cellular level.
Psoriatic arthritis is a chronic disease which requires ongoing management by a licensed specialist. Partnering with a smart team of doctors will help you to manage the twists and turns diseases like this can take.
Make sure you get the highest level of Psoriatic arthritis treatment. Contact ARBDA today or visit one of our six offices in New Jersey for more information about our psoriatic arthritis treatment options.
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Choosing The Right Doctors
PsA treatment often requires regular care by both a dermatologist and a rheumatologist. Still, finding the right doctors can be overwhelming to start. Aside from seeing which providers are in-network with your insurance carrier, you can also ask your primary doctor for some recommendations.
As a rule of thumb, you should also select doctors that are board-certified. You can also check out the AAD website for certified dermatologists, as well as the American College of Rheumatologists website for a rheumatologist.
In addition to undergraduate school and medical school education, dermatologists must undergo extensive internships and at least three years worth of residency training. To become board certified, a dermatologist must pass an exam for proper certification. A certified dermatologist usually displays their credentials somewhere in their office.
Like dermatologists, rheumatologists undergo significant schooling and training. The estimated timeline for education and training is the same, and they must also complete certification exams before practicing rheumatology. You may need a referral from your primary doctor to make an appointment.
Once youve found a dermatologist and rheumatologist, ask about their experiences in treating PsA. Because both types of doctors treat a variety of conditions, some might be more experienced in PsA than others.