Arthropathic psoriasis, arthritis psoriatica, psoriatic arthropathy or psoriatic arthritis is a type of chronic inflammatory arthritis that develops in about fifteen percent of all patients who are diagnosed with the skin condition psoriasis. It was in the 1850’s that doctors were able to positively establish a connection between psoriasis and arthritis.
However, it was only in the mid twentieth century that doctors were able to differentiate psoriatic arthritis from the more common rheumatoid arthritis.
An individual may develop psoriatic arthritis at any point of his or her life. However, it has been observed that people between the ages of thirty and fifty and those who have a prior history of psoriasis are most likely to develop this type of chronic arthritis.
Psoriatic arthritis which is characterized by excessive swelling and pain in the joints is a serious disease which requires timely medical treatment. If psoriatic arthritis is left untreated it can lead to joint destruction and ultimately a person may experience complete loss of mobility.
It is important to discern some of the top signs and symptoms of psoriatic arthritis from other more common forms of arthritis including rheumatoid arthritis. Through this article we will examine the most common signs and symptoms of psoriatic arthritis.
Tips to Identify Symptoms of Psoriatic Arthritis
A person with this type of arthritis will typically complain of chronic fatigue. When people suffer from inflammatory diseases like psoriatic arthritis, certain chemicals like cytokines are released into the blood stream. These chemicals can cause a person to experience severe fatigue.
In fact, extreme fatigue despite taking enough rest, is one of the earliest signs of psoriatic arthritis. Although fatigue is a common symptom of most disease conditions, we can discern that a person is suffering from psoriatic arthritis when chronic fatigue is coupled with joint pain and swelling.
People with psoriatic arthritis may develop anemia. The red blood cells of anemic patients do carry adequate amounts of oxygen to the major organs and tissues of the body.
When the tissues and organs of the body are deprived of oxygen they may not function in the optimal manner. This is one of the reasons why people with anemia often complain of exhaustion or chronic fatigue.
A person with psoriatic arthritis may observe swelling in one or more of his or her joints. Joint swelling is often accompanied by excruciating pain. The joints located at the knees, ankles, fingers, wrists and toes are most likely to be affected by this type of arthritis. Pain and swelling is often accompanied by redness around the affected joints.
People with psoriatic arthritis may also complain of stiffness. Individuals with psoriatic arthritis will notice that joint stiffness is typically exacerbated during early morning or when they get up after taking a bit of rest.
Inflammation around the Tendons
Psoriatic arthritis can cause inflammation around the tendons. Almost all tendons of the body can be affected by this type of arthritis. However, a person with psoriatic arthritis may complain of severe pain and will observe swelling around the Achilles tendon.
Swelling of the Fingers and Toes
This type of arthritis can cause excessive swelling of the fingers and toes. Individuals with psoriatic arthritis may observe their fingers and toes doubling up in size and appearing sausage like. In fact, excessive swelling of the fingers and the toes is the primary sign which helps to distinguish psoriatic arthritis from the more common rheumatoid arthritis.
Lower Back Pain
Sacroiliac joint or the triangular bones at the base of the spine, where the flared pelvic bones are connected to the sacrum is generally affected by psoriatic arthritis.
The inflammation of the sacroiliac joint may cause excruciating pain around the lower back. Sometimes this pain may radiate towards the buttocks as well.
People having psoriatic arthritis may notice plenty of changes in their nails as well. Pitting of finger and toe nails is commonly observed among psoriatic arthritis patients.
Along with pitting, the nails may separate or lift from the nail bed completely. In fact, pitting of nails is actually the primary factor which helps doctors to diagnose whether a patient is suffering from psoriatic arthritis or not.
Nearly a third of all patients who are diagnosed with psoriatic arthritis may suffer from eye conditions including conjunctivitis. Conjunctivitis also called pink eye is an infectious eye disease which causes the membranes lining the eyelids to become swollen or inflamed.
Besides conjunctivitis some of the other eye problems commonly noticed among psoriatic arthritis patients include uveitis, episcleritis and dry eye syndrome.
Like rheumatoid arthritis people suffering from psoriatic arthritis may observe a sudden increase in their symptoms. This sudden increase in symptoms commonly associated with psoriatic arthritis is called flares.