What is Psoriatic Arthritis?
An autoimmune condition develops when the body’s immune system transports inflammation to normal structures by mistake. Psoriatic and psoriasis are autoimmune conditions. The inflammation is directed towards the skin by mistake in skin psoriasis. Inflammation flows towards the joints similar to rheumatoid arthritis that causes inflammation (redness, pain, stiffness) and damage. Psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis could be found across a broad spectrum ranging from mild to severe diseases, like any autoimmune condition. The severity of skin disease and arthritic involvement have little relation. Some persons could have a minimal skin disease and some might have a severe one without arthritis.
What causes Psoriatic Arthritis?
Th real factor responsible for causing psoriatic arthritis is still unknown. As per certain studies, above 40% of people with psoriatic arthritis have a family member with arthritis or psoriasis, which shows that heredity has a role to play. Psoriatic arthritis could also come from an infection that weakens the immune system. As per certain theoretical findings, an infection would trigger an autoimmune condition in a patient with the mentioned genetic background but this is yet to be proven.
How is Psoriatic Arthritis diagnosed?
Rheumatologists often look for painful and swollen joints, some arthritis patterns and skin and nail changes to diagnose psoriatic arthritis. X-rays are often done to identify joint damage, while ultrasound, CT scans are done to identify the joints in more detail.
Blood tests are typically negative in psoriatic arthritis. Blood tests may be performed to treat different types of arthritis that might have same symptoms and signs including osteoarthritis and gout. Inflammation markers are normal usually but could be in an elevated condition in psoriatic arthritis. Skin biopsies are required to confirm the condition of psoriasis occasionally.
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