Psoriatic Arthritis Overview

Ten to 30 percent of individuals with psoriasis develop arthritis or joint inflammation, usually appearing at 40-50 years of age. Two percent of Caucasians in the United States suffer from psoriasis and arthritic symptoms.

This is a chronic condition involving both joint and skin inflammation. While the cause is unknown, it is believed to be a combination of environment, immunity, and genetic factors. In half of the cases, gene marker HLA-B27 and decreased T cells (needed for immunity) are found.

Symptoms associated with psoriasis include:

  • Skin inflammation with raised, red, and scaly patches
  • Possible inflammation of cartilage, tendons, eyes, pleura (lung lining), heart, and kidneys
  • Swollen, hot, red, stiff, and painful joints (especially in the morning)

Symptoms of psoriatic arthritis include:

  • Swollen, hot, red, and painful joints
  • Stiffness (especially in the morning)

Conditions associated with psoriatic arthritis include:

  • Acne
  • Nail ridges of fingers and toes

Psoriatic arthritis can be categorized into 5 types:

  • Symmetrical – affecting matching joints on both sides of the body, causing destructive, disabling disease in half the individuals with this type
  • Asymmetric and few joints – does not affect both sides of the body with similar joint inflammation; often involves a hip, a knee, and one or more fingers
  • Spondylitis – vertebral inflammation affecting any section of the spine, causing difficulty in motion
  • Distal interphalangeal joints – inflammation of finger and toe joints
  • Arthritis mutilans – a severe form affecting less than five percent of patients; severe, destructive, and deforming over months or years


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