Affecting about one percent of the population in North America, psoriatic arthritis is an inflammatory disease seen in 4-6 percent of patients with psoriasis and characterized by articular and extra-articular features. The onset of arthritis is usually insidious but can occur acutely. The five general patterns of this condition are:
- Arthritis of the distal interphalangeal joints
- Destructive (mutilans) arthritis
- Symmetric polyarthritis indistinguishable from rheumatoid arthritis
- Asymmetric oligoarthritis
What Are the Causes?
The exact cause is unclear. However, genetic, immunologic and environmental elements are thought to play a role in the onset of the inflammatory process. Additionally, the disease is much more likely to occur in first-degree relatives of affected individuals than in the general population or in spouses.
What Are the Symptoms?
Patients usually present with pain and swelling in the affected joints. The joints may be erythematous. Patients with psoriatic arthritis have been found to have joints that are less tender than the joints of patients with rheumatoid arthritis. There is no direct relation between the severity of skin lesions and the degree of joint inflammation.
Most patients with psoriatic arthritis are also present with polyarthritis. All peripheral joints may be involved. Spondyloarthropathy develops in 20-40 percent of these patients but rarely is detected at the onset of disease. It tends to affect men and older patients and begins later in the course of the disease.
How Psoriatic Arthritis Progresses
Patterns of psoriatic arthritis are not permanent, more than 60 percent change from their initial presentation. A patient may begin with a polyarticular pattern evolving into a disease with only a few joints involved. Other clinical features of include dactylitis (swelling of an entire digit), tenosynovitis (swelling of a tendon), and enthesitis (swelling of a tendon at its insertion into a bone).
The course of this condition is usually characterized by flare-ups and remissions. No diagnostic or classification criteria for psoriatic arthritis exists. The diagnosis is usually made when a patient with psoriasis presents with features of inflammatory arthritis.
How Is Psoriatic Arthritis Treated?
The treatment is usually directed at controlling the inflammatory process. The skin and joint aspects of the disease need to be treated simultaneously. Initial treatment is with non-steroidal, anti-inflammatory drugs. In individuals whose arthritis is persistent, disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs should be used.
Treatment for Psoriatic Arthritis In Thousand Oaks
If you are suffering from psoriatic arthritis, there is help for you at Cohen Medical Centers. Dr. Cohen and his talented team are ready to help you feel like yourself again and prevent your condition from getting worse. To learn more about our treatment options in Ventura County, simply call us at (805) 449-8781 or fill out the form below to schedule a consultation.