Psoriatic arthritis is actually a combination of two different medical conditions. Psoriasis is a chronic skin condition which causes a patchy rash. The affected area is usually inflamed and scaly. Arthritis is well known as an inflammation of the joints and is also chronic. Both conditions are fairly common but psoriasis is predominant in the white population. Some people who develop psoriasis will go on to develop arthritis and this condition is called psoriatic arthritis.
With specific types of arthritis the female is more prone to having the disease than men. With psoriatic arthritis both men and women are equally affected. Both conditions usually do not appear at the same time. The majority of the people affected by this condition will develop psoriasis before they develop arthritis. Since both conditions are inflammatory, the condition can have an impact on many parts of the body such as the heart and other major organs. The spine is another place which is often affected by psoriatic arthritis. There is currently no known cause or cure for the disease.
A lot of people who are diagnosed with this disease will experience severe cases of acne, even at an advanced age. The acne is not limited to the face; it often causes other parts of the body to break out in an acne type rash. The nails may also develop ridges and pitting.
The arthritis may start to involve the knees, feet, hands, ankles, and the spine. People with psoriatic arthritis tend to have more spinal pain than other arthritis sufferers. Joints tend to swell more and become stiff which causes moderate to severe pain. The pain and stiffness is most often worse during the morning hours after the patient has been in bed all night. For many people movement or moderate exercise seems to help ease the pain and stiffness. Many people find a hot shower will also help relieve the joint stiffness.
Psoriatic arthritis can cause many other health problems such as lung inflammations and eye disease. People with this diagnosis who experience eye problems should immediately contact their physician since this condition could possibly lead to blindness. The same goes for the lungs. When inflammation is present in the lungs, people may experience difficulty with breathing, or they may develop chest pain. It is extremely important to get medical attention if any of these symptoms occur since they could possibly lead to death.
Patients who are diagnosed with psoriatic arthritis will often develop pain and inflammation in their tendons also which makes it more difficult and painful to walk. Many times steroids are used to reduce the inflammation.