Psoriatic arthritis is a chronic disease where an individual experiences inflammation of the tissues in their skin and those that make up their joints. Symptoms that affect the skin of an individual who has psoriatic arthritis do not have to occur at the same time as those that affect their joints. Between fifteen and twenty-five percent of all individuals diagnosed with psoriasis will develop psoriatic arthritis. Psoriatic arthritis is caused by an abnormal reaction by the immune system, where it mistakenly attacks healthy tissues in the body. The tissues affected by psoriatic arthritis are those that make up the joints and skin.
Diagnosis of psoriatic arthritis is made with the use of a physical examination, x-rays, MRIs, blood tests, and joint fluid tests. For those suffering from psoriatic arthritis, it is of the utmost importance that reliable treatments are used as quickly as possible.
Joint Pain And Stiffness
Joint pain and stiffness most often occur at some point after the affected individual has developed skin symptoms related to psoriatic arthritis. The most common parts of a patient's body affected by joint pain and stiffness include the spine, fingertips, feet, and toes. Joint pain and stiffness occur in psoriatic arthritis because the patient's immune system launches an inappropriate attack on the tissues that line the joint and fluids inside them.
These joint linings and the fluid around them are what protects the bones of the joint and provides lubrication to reduce friction and damage when the joint moves. These components of an individual's joint cannot perform these functions when the lining is inflamed and swollen. Instead of reducing friction and providing lubrication, the effects of psoriatic arthritis actually cause more friction, decrease lubrication, and cause an affected individual to experience pain and limited mobility in their joints.