What is Psoriatic Arthritis (PsA)?
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Chronic inflammation causes symptoms including joint pain & skin plaques.
Psoriatic arthritis (PsA) is a chronic inflammatory disease that occurs when your immune system mistakenly starts attacking healthy joints and skin. People may experience joint pain, difficulty moving, and skin plaques. If left untreated, permanent joint damage may occur over time with PsA.
30% of people with psoriasis may later develop PsA.
The overactive immune response causes inflammation that can trigger joint pain, stiffness, and swelling as well as red, scaly skin patches called plaques—caused by excess inflammation.
PsA is different than rheumatoid arthritis.
It can be confusing to know if your symptoms are related to PsA or rheumatoid arthritis because the characteristics are similar. One key difference between the two is rheumatoid arthritis (RA) does not present with plaques where PsA often presents alongside plaques on the skin.
Only a doctor can provide a diagnosis. Talk to your doctor about the symptoms you are experiencing.
The root cause of PsA is unknown.
In people living with PsA, the immune system is triggered and becomes overactive, attacking healthy cells and tissues. This overactive response can cause inflammation in the joints. So, what causes inflammation? There’s no single answer but genes and external triggers can play a role.
Genes and external triggers vary from person to person. What may cause your PsA to become active can be different from someone else. That’s why it’s important to know your family’s health history and take note of what tends to make your PsA symptoms worse.
Diagnosing PsA starts with you.
No single exam can determine diagnosis. It is important to provide your doctor with details about the symptoms you are experiencing. Tell your doctor if your joints are stiff, sore, or if movement causes pain. Sharing details will help your doctor understand how you’re doing, while allowing them to provide you with the earliest possible diagnosis.
Your doctor may examine your skin for plaques as well as your joints, looking for signs of joint swelling, tenderness, and pain. They may check your fingernails. A blood test, X-ray, or MRI may be used to help pinpoint a source of pain or inflammation.
- How much time you spend trying to treat your PsA
- Where you are experiencing discomfort or joint pain
- If your joint pain is impacting your daily activities
There are a variety of treatments.
Some people use over-the-counter products, while others get one or more treatments prescribed by a doctor. These include:
- Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) that can relieve pain and reduce inflammation (i.e., ibuprofen, aspirin).
- Disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs) that can be used to slow the progression of psoriatic arthritis.
- Immunosuppressants reduce the activity of the immune system, which do not function normally due to psoriatic arthritis.
- Biologics, like SKYRIZI, that target key parts of the immune system that are linked to causing inflammation.