If your dermatologist has diagnosed you with psoriasis, one complication you need to know about is psoriatic arthritis. This painful condition can cause permanent joint damage if not treated, so talk to the dermatologist who manages your psoriasis treatment if you notice the signs. Here is what you need to know.
What is psoriatic arthritis?
Psoriatic arthritis is an inflammatory joint disease that occurs in people with psoriasis. It occurs in about 30% of people with psoriasis, regardless of the severity of the psoriasis symptoms. When left untreated, it can cause irreversible joint damage in as little as six months from the onset of symptoms. If your dermatologist suspects that you could have psoriatic arthritis, he or she may refer you to a rheumatologist to manage that part of your disease.
What are the symptoms?
Psoriatic arthritis causes pain and tenderness in the joints and over the tendons. Joints that are near your nails, such as your fingers and toes, are usually most affected, but you may also experience pain in your back, wrists, knees, and ankles. Patients also experience morning stiffness, generalized fatigue, nail changes, and swollen fingers and toes. The symptoms can develop slowly or may have a sudden and severe onset. Eighty-five percent of people who have psoriatic arthritis have symptoms of psoriasis before they have joint pain.
How is it treated?
Although your dermatologist will manage your psoriasis treatment, a rheumatologist will treat psoriatic arthritis. The first step is to ensure that you have psoriatic arthritis and not rheumatoid arthritis, which can cause similar symptoms. Once you are diagnosed, anti-inflammatory and immunosuppressant medications can help to manage the disease. Like psoriasis, there is no cure for psoriatic arthritis, but treatment can reduce the symptoms and delay the progression of the disease.
Arlington Dermatology offers a number of psoriasis treatments in Arlington Heights to help patients get the best possible symptom relief. Learn more about psoriasis treatment options and all of our services by calling 847-392-5440.