What Is Psoriatic Arthritis? Its Causes, Symptoms And Treatment

Psoriatic arthritis, as the term suggests, a complication of psoriasis, a skin condition characterized by silvery scales and red patches, which is associated with the involvement of joints. Psoriatic arthritis is observed in advanced stages of psoriasis, though in some conditions, the joint complaints may develop before the onset of the skin lesions.

Psoriatic arthritis is a debilitating disease which has no cure; however the treatment focuses on attempting to control the severity of the symptoms and reducing deformity.

Possible Causes Of Psoriatic Arthritis

Psoriasis is an autoimmune condition which is associated with altered immune response of the body, which may lead to healthy skin cells being attacked by the body’s own immunity. This results in overproduction of skin cells, resulting in redness and silvery scales on the skin. While the reason for the onset of the condition is not clearly understood, there are certain risk factors that have been identified,

  • Viral or bacterial infection may trigger the onset of psoriatic arthritis in individuals who have an inherited tendency to joint and skin ailments.
  • In most cases of psoriatic arthritis, a family history involving parents or siblings is usually present.
  • The condition can affect individuals of any age. However psoriatic arthritis is more frequently observed in individuals between the age group of 30-50 years.

Signs & Symptoms Of Psoriatic Arthritis

The symptoms associated with psoriatic arthritis tend to deteriorate over a period of time, with episodes of remission alternating with acute exacerbation. The condition can be associated with involvement of joints of either one side or both sides of the body. The typical symptoms associated with the condition include,

  • The pain may differ in severity and affect multiple joints including the lower back and foot. The pain may be associated with the involvement of ligaments and tendons that are attached to the bone.
  • Swelling of the toes and the fingers which are associated with severe pain and give them a typical sausage like appearance. Eventually, as the condition progresses, it may lead to deformity in the joints and comprise the ability of the person to perform routine activities.

The diagnosis of the condition is based on the medical history of psoriasis along with the signs of joint involvement. Blood tests may be performed to rule out other types of arthritis namely rheumatoid arthritis. Radiological images of the involved joint may also provide information regarding the extent of joint and tendon damage associated with the condition.

Natural Treatment For Psoriatic Arthritis

While there is no cure for the condition, there are certain natural treatment options that can help in the management of the condition. This treatment regimen comprises of the following,

  • The joints need to be protected from any further damage or injury. Avoid jerking or straining the joints of the fingers or the toes. Avoid lifting heavy weights. Push open the door with your entire body, rather than merely using the hands, to reduce the strain on these joints.
  • It is recommended to maintain an optimum weight. A healthy nutritive diet focused at improving nutrients and limiting the supply of calories is recommended. Increase the intake of fresh fruits, fresh vegetables and whole grains.
  • Physical therapy can help improve strength of the muscles and thereby alleviate some of the symptoms. In addition using hot and cold compress alternatively can help alleviate swelling and pain.

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