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Arthritis

Psoriatic Arthritis

Up to 30 percent of people with psoriasis also develop psoriatic arthritis, which causes pain, stiffness, and swelling in and around the joints.Psoriatic arthritis can develop at any time, but it most commonly appears between the ages of 30 and 50. Genes, the immune system, and environmental factors are all believed to play a role in the onset of the disease.Psoriatic arthritis can cause swelling, stiffness, and pain in and around the joints, cause nail changes and overall fatigue.Studies show that delaying treatment for psoriatic arthritis as little as six months can result in permanent joint damage. Early recognition, diagnosis, and treatment of psoriatic arthritis are critical to relieve pain and inflammation and help prevent joint damage.Psoriatic arthritis can develop slowly with mild symptoms, or it can develop quickly and be severe.Here are common symptoms of psoriatic arthritis:

  • Generalized fatigue
  • Tenderness, pain and swelling over tendons
  • Swollen fingers and toes that look like sausages
  • Stiffness, pain, throbbing, swelling, and tenderness in one or more joints
  • A reduced range of motion
  • Morning stiffness and tiredness
  • Nail changes—for example, the nail separates from the nail bed and/or becomes pitted and mimics fungus infections
  • Redness and pain of the eye, such as conjunctivitis

Psoriatic arthritis usually affects the distal joints (those closest to the nail) in fingers or toes.You may also experience symptoms in your lower back, wrists, knees or ankle. In 85 percent of patients, psoriasis occurs before the joint disease. If you have been diagnosed with psoriasis, it is important to tell your dermatologist if you have any aches and pains.People with the psoriatic disease also are at greater risk of developing cardiovascular disease, depression and other health conditions.

Cancer

A number of studies have found that people with psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis have an increased risk of certain types of cancer, such as lymphoma and nonmelanoma skin cancer. A recent study showed that no single treatment significantly raises the risk of cancer, suggesting that the disease itself raises your risk. People with psoriatic disease should incorporate regular cancer screenings into their routine care.

Cardiovascular Disease

Research continues to link psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis with an increased risk for cardiovascular disease, especially in people with severe psoriasis. People with severe psoriasis are 58 percent more likely to have a major cardiac event and 43 percent more likely to have a stroke, according to one study. Some researchers report that the leading cause of death for people with severe psoriatic arthritis is cardiovascular disease. The good news is treating your disease can reduce your risk of heart attack and stroke, one study suggests. Talk to your doctor about your risk for cardiovascular disease.

Crohn’s Disease

There is a connection between psoriasis, psoriatic arthritis and inflammatory bowel disease. In a recent study of women with psoriasis, 10 percent developed a form of inflammatory bowel disease, such as Crohn’s Disease or ulcerative colitis. Those who had psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis were at even greater risk of developing Crohn’s. People with psoriatic disease and Crohn’s share similar genetic mutations. Talk to your doctor if you have symptoms of inflammatory bowel disease such as diarrhea, abdominal cramping and bloody stools.

Depression

Psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis can cause considerable emotional distress for people, including low self-esteem, and an increased chance of mood disorders, such as depression. People with psoriatic arthritis are at greater risk of developing depression than those with psoriasis alone, according to some research. Studies show that treating your psoriasis can alleviate symptoms of depression.

Diabetes

People with psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis are at an increased risk for type 2 diabetes, according to a 2012 study. People with severe psoriasis, in particular, are 30 percent more likely to have type 2 diabetes. A recent study showed that a drug called glucagon-like peptide-1 used to treat type 2 diabetes may help psoriasis, too. If you have symptoms of type 2 diabetes, such as increased thirst, hunger, blurred vision or fatigue, tell your doctor.

Metabolic Syndrome

There is a significant association between psoriatic disease and metabolic syndrome – a cluster of conditions that include heart disease, abdominal obesity, and high blood pressure. A national sample of more than 6,500 people found that 40 percent of those with psoriasis had metabolic syndrome, compared with just 23 percent of the general population. More women with psoriasis had metabolic syndrome than men. People with severe psoriatic arthritis are at even higher risk, with 44 percent diagnosed with metabolic syndrome in a recent study.

Obesity

Researchers have known for some time that people with the psoriatic disease are more likely to be obese than the normal population. Recent studies continue to examine the relationship between the two. One study showed that children with psoriasis were at much greater risk of being obese, while another showed being overweight at 18 increased the risk of developing psoriatic arthritis. Research also shows that losing weight can improve psoriatic disease symptoms and help make treatments more effective.

Osteoporosis

A small study of people with psoriatic disease showed that 60 percent of patients had osteopenia, an early form of the bone disease, osteoporosis, and 18 percent had progressed to osteoporosis. The risk of developing the bone disease increases the longer a person has the psoriatic disease, according to the study. While osteoporosis is generally considered to affect women more than men, in this case, men were more affected than women. Consider asking your doctor for a bone density screen.

Uveitis

Psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis raise your risk of developing uveitis, an inflammatory disease of the eye. About 7 percent of people with psoriatic arthritis will develop uveitis, according to recent studies. Systemic treatment for the psoriatic disease can help with some of the symptoms, but uveitis usually requires specific treatment. Rheumatologists, who treat psoriatic arthritis, also treat uveitis.

Liver Disease

People with psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis may be at greater risk for developing a liver condition called non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), according to recently published studies.

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