Psoriatic arthritis: diagnosis and treatment

Psoriatic arthritis is a Joint inflammation that occurs in some people with psoriasis. It occurs approximately in 10%. It can happen in both mild and severe patients. In some cases, it appears before the skin lesions. Even, it may not affect the skin.

Psoriatic arthritis It can affect any joint. In fact, it can lead to joint damage. Therefore, it is important to know what it is and how to treat it. In this article we explain it to you, read on!

What is psoriasis?

Psoriasis is a Chronic autoimmune inflammatory disease. The immune system accelerates the growth of skin keratinocytes. Therefore, they accumulate forming thickened and reddened plaques on the skin. It is not a contagious disease. However, it seems to have a certain inheritable genetic component.

It can appear at any age. Still, it has two peaks of incidence: between the 2o and 30 years, and between 50 and 60. It usually manifests with skin symptoms. However, people with psoriasis have a higher risk of suffering from arthritis, diabetes and other health disorders.

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Causes and symptoms of psoriatic arthritis

The cause of the disease is not known. As we mentioned, It seems that genetic factors play an important role. The immune system is altered, and mistakenly attacks the coating of the joints. Therefore, it causes pain and inflammation.

Is a disease that has a irregular cycle throughout life. It presents periods of activity and others of inactivity. Psoriatic arthritis has an insidious onset. The main symptoms are:

  • Pain in the joints. It usually occurs mainly in wrists and ankles.
  • Ailments where the tendons and ligaments attach to the bones.
  • Swelling, especially in the fingers and toes.
  • Hot.
  • Difficulty of movement

exist different forms of appearance, which are classified as:

  • Asymmetric oligoarticular arthritis. It affects few joints of the extremities. It's the most frequent form.
  • Arthritis that mainly affects the distal interphalangeal of the hands.
  • Mutilating, which deforms the joints. It's weird
  • Symmetric arthritis similar to another joint disease called rheumatoid arthritis.
  • Arthritis that affects the spine and joints of the pelvis. It resembles ankylosing spondylitis.

Sometimes, Psoriatic arthritis can affect other parts of the body. For example, to tendons and ligaments. In fact it is frequent in the Achilles tendon.

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Differences with the rest of arthritis

First, Psoriatic arthritis usually affects asymmetrically. In addition, it tends to injure the distal interphalangeal joints. It also produces dactylitis, something that does not usually occur in the rest of arthritis.

Diagnosis of psoriatic arthritis

First, it is necessary to find out if there is psoriasis in the patient or in his relatives. In the same way, you have to perform a physical examination and a correct medical history. It is necessary to check if there is sensitivity, inflammation or pain in any joint. Also assess the ability to move. In addition, diagnostic techniques such as:

  • X-rays, magnetic resonance imaging or ultrasound. This way it will be possible to observe if there are changes in the bones, tendons and cartilages.
  • Blood tests to rule out other diseases. In psoriatic arthritis there are usually nonspecific alterations of inflammation. Rheumatoid antibody is often present in the blood of people with rheumatoid arthritis. However, it is absent in psoriatic arthritis. Therefore, it helps to differentiate both.
  • Testing of joint fluid. Uric acid crystals are indicators of gout. Thus they distinguish it from psoriatic arthritis.

However, there is no single test to reach the diagnosis. It is reached through the special features of psoriatic arthritis.


There is no cure for psoriatic arthritis. Because, the treatment focuses on alleviating pain and disability. The most used medications are:

  • Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAID). They relieve pain and inflammation.
  • Disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs. They can slow the progression of psoriatic arthritis. The most commonly used are metrotrezate and leflunomide.
  • Immunosuppressants. They are used to inactivate the immune system. Azathioprine and cyclosporin are used.
  • Inhibitors of tumor necrosis factor alpha. It is an inflammatory substance. Therefore, these medications can help reduce pain, morning stiffness or inflammation of the joints. Some examples are etanercept and infliximab.

In addition, there are surgical procedures. They are used in severe cases in which the joint is badly damaged. As a conclusion, it is It is important to detect the symptoms of psoriatic arthritis early. Thus, an adequate treatment can be established. For this, it is necessary to go to the doctor if there is any doubt.