Psoriatic arthritis is a type of inflammatory arthritis that affects people with psoriasis. Psoriasis is a skin condition characterized by inflammation of the skin with dry, silvery scales. Psoriatic arthritis affects about 10% to 30% of people with psoriasis. This condition usually occurs between the ages of 40-years-old and 50-years-old. It affects both genders equally, and in most cases, symptoms of psoriasis appear before the symptoms of arthritis. If symptoms of psoriatic arthritis appear first, diagnosis of psoriatic arthritis becomes more difficult. In this rheumatic disease, the symptoms, like inflammation, may be seen in other areas, like the eyes, lungs, kidneys, and heart.
There are five different types of psoriatic arthritis. Diagnosing the right type of psoriatic arthritis is very important in extending the right treatment option.
- Symmetric psoriatic arthritis – As the name indicates, this condition affects the same joints on opposite sides of the body. The symptoms of this arthritis resembles that of rheumatoid arthritis, and may cause various disabilities in the affected people. It may lead to different types of destructive disease symptoms over a period of time.
- Asymmetric psoriatic arthritis – In this condition, the symptoms are seen in one to three joints in the body, like the hip, knee, or fingers. Yet, it may not affect matching joints on opposite sides of the body, as in symmetric psoriatic arthritis.
- Distal interphalangeal predominant (DIP) – Distal interphalangeal predominant type of psoriatic arthritis affects the small joints in the fingers and toes. The symptoms often resemble that of osteoarthritis, a condition characterized by deterioration of joint cartilage and bones.
- Spondylitis – This type of psoriatic arthritis is characterized by inflammation and stiffness of the neck, lower back, spinal vertebrae, and pelvic area, and affects movement. Spondylitis may also affect ligaments or cause arthritis of the arms, hips, and legs.
- Arthritis mutilans – This is a rare but severe form of psoriatic arthritis affecting the small joints in the fingers and toes. It may also affect the neck and lower back, resulting in severe pain. The involved joints of this arthritis may lose its function completely.
Symptoms of psoriatic arthritis may vary from one type to another.
Some of the common symptoms of psoriatic arthritis include:
- Discomfort, pain, or tenderness in joints
- Difficulty in moving the joints
- Morning stiffness and fatigue
- Scaly skin on scalp, elbows, and knees
- Inflammation or stiffness in the lower back, knees, and ankles
- Detachment of nails from fingers and toes
- Inflammation of the eye