Encinitas, CA rheumatologist explains how psoriatic arthritis can affect the body
Psoriatic arthritis is a type of arthritis that people who suffer from psoriasis can develop. It is characterized by joint pain, swelling, and stiffness and can become debilitating if left untreated. Many patients may not be aware that they have the condition and don’t seek treatment for their symptoms. At Seaside Rheumatology and Wellness Center in Encinitas, CA, we educate patients on how psoriatic arthritis can affect the body and offer an array of treatment options to help patients find relief from their symptoms.
Quick facts about psoriatic arthritis
- It is a type of chronic inflammatory arthritis
- Its symptoms can range from being mild to being very painful and damaging to the joints
- It usually affects the larger joints of the body, such as the leg joints, as well as the fingers and toes, back, and sacroiliac joints
- It affects up to 30% of people who have skin psoriasis
- Patients who have psoriasis of the skin are most likely to get psoriatic arthritis, but it can also develop on its own
- Men and women are equally likely to develop it
- It usually begins between ages 30-50 but can start in childhood in some people
Effects of psoriatic arthritis on the body
Psoriatic arthritis can have wide-ranging effects if it is undiagnosed and left untreated. The condition can affect not only your joints but also cause systemic issues in your body.
The primary symptom of psoriatic arthritis is painful, swollen, and stiff joints. Any joint in the body can be affected—in some patients, just one joint is painful, whereas, in others, many of the joints are inflamed. When psoriatic arthritis affects your spine, it is called spondylitis, and it can result in difficulties with bending over and stiffness in your neck and back. The inflammation in your joints can result in permanent joint damage, so it is vital to see a qualified doctor to diagnose and treat the condition before it progresses further.
In addition to its effects on your joints, psoriatic arthritis can also impact the tendons and ligaments surrounding the joints. When this occurs, it is called enthesitis, and it can cause pain around your elbows, the soles of the feet, the back of your heels, and other locations.
Broader effects of psoriatic arthritis on your physical health can include:
- An overactive immune system
- Flaky scalp
- Thickened nails
- Changes in your mood, such as anxiety and depression
In addition, if you have psoriatic arthritis, you are at a higher risk of developing the following conditions:
- High blood pressure
- High cholesterol
- Loss of vision or uveitis
- Lung inflammation or interstitial lung disease
- Inflammatory bowel disease
Treatment options for psoriatic arthritis
In many cases, psoriatic arthritis does not go away on its own and it is important to seek treatment before it causes permanent damage to your joints. In fact, studies show that delaying treatment by as little as six months after the condition develops can result in permanent damage.
Fortunately, while there is no cure for psoriatic arthritis, there are several effective treatment options. The appropriate treatment depends on your symptoms and their severity, so Dr. Lloyd will work closely with you to determine what options will be best for your unique condition.
In patients with mild symptoms, over-the-counter medications such as NSAIDs can be effective at treating the pain, but not preventing joint damage.
In more severe cases, steroid injections may be needed to reduce the inflammation, and anti-rheumatic drugs and newer biologic treatments such as TNF inhibitors have also been successful at managing the condition. In some patients, joint replacement surgery may eventually be needed to restore damaged joints.
Several lifestyle changes can also help alleviate your symptoms and protect your joints from further damage. It is important to be physically active when you have psoriatic arthritis, as it helps maintain the mobility in your joints. Eating a healthy, anti-inflammatory diet and maintaining a healthy weight is also beneficial, as well as minimizing stress and taking time to relax when needed.
Find relief from your symptoms at Seaside Rheumatology
If you are suffering from the symptoms of psoriatic arthritis, you can find relief with effective treatments at Seaside Rheumatology and Wellness Center. Dr. Peter Lloyd takes a patient-centered approach to the care that he provides, and he truly listens to your symptoms, medical history, and preferences when working with you to create a treatment plan. Our office is conveniently located in Encinitas, CA and can be reached at 760-509-2429.