Psoriatic Arthritis, also known as PsA, is an inflammatory disease of the joints which affects both men and women, and is believed to occur when they are in their forties and fifties. It is a chronic arthritis condition that is seen in patients suffering from Psoriasis, an autoimmune disease, where the body’s immune system attacks its healthy cells, and triggers a combination of arthritis and psoriasis symptoms.
The chances of an individual suffering from psoriasis developing PsA are rather high, around 15% to 25% of those having psoriasis are to be expected to be diagnosed with PsA as well. It is also found that in almost 80% of the cases, an individual is more likely to develop psoriasis first and proceed to experience arthritis symptoms after. While in around 15% cases, the other way round is possible.
Patients suffering from Psoriatic Arthritis often experience a myriad of symptoms. These symptoms can at times occur on its own or in the combination of two or more. While it is hard to pinpoint when someone will develop these symptoms, it is wise to keep an eye out for the same nevertheless, which is why, some of these common signs and symptoms an individual with psoriasis, arthritis or both can look out for are listed below:
Fatigue: One of the most common symptoms of psoriasis arthritis is the fatigue one might experience. Although the fatigue level varies person to person and how severely the PsA is affecting them, it can range from mild tiredness to extreme exhaustion and at times can get bad enough to the point that taking naps during the day can become a necessity.
Joint pain: Joint pain is one of the first symptoms many patients report. It is often seen that people suffering from psoriasis first experience joint pain, which then develops to a more progressed stage of psoriasis arthritis. The joint pain is caused primarily because of the inflammation in the joints, which leads to tenderness, stiffness and pain. Knees, elbows and ankles are the most affected by this.
Lower back pain: Since the inflammation caused by psoriasis arthritis affects the joints of the individual, at times the inflammation can increase and start affecting the spine as well. The lower back pain one might experience is due to the swelling present between the joints of the vertebrate of the person. It can also lead to severe neck pain.
Swollen toes and fingers: Another very common symptom one is likely to experience at the onset of PsA is swelling in their fingers and toes. As psoriasis arthritis is more prone to begin in smaller joints like fingers, toes etc. the swollen fingers and toes are seen as a very early sign of PsA and are observed in almost all the cases of the disease.
Loss of range of motion: Reduced range of motion is also seen among people with PsA. The main reason behind this is the elevated rate of inflammation and swollen joints the person has, which causes the blood vessels to compress and reduce the oxygen supply in those regions. When the swelling has increased to a substantial degree, one can find that their range of motion has been notably stunted and is often painful as well.
Eye inflammation: PsA can cause your eyes to redden and become painful. The pain and redness are the result of inflammation and swelling around your eyes. Some patients even register feeling a change in their vision and irritation at the time of blinking and movement etc.
Nail Separation or Pitted Nails: Pitted nails also known as bumpy nails is another symptom experienced by the patients of PsA. While at times the nail might even become too weak and fall off from its nail bed, resulting in a condition called onycholysis, which is also a very common symptom of PsA.
Scaly Skin: Scaly and patchy skin is a symptom seen in almost all cases and is the result of the effect of psoriasis on the individual’s body. The skin often becomes red, patchy and scaly. This is the result of the accumulation of cells in a particular area.
A complete cure of PsA hasn’t been found yet but there are ways one can keep these symptoms under control, depending on its severity and the stage of PsA they are at. Most importantly, seeking medical counsel as soon as one experiences these symptoms is highly recommended.