Psoriasis is a disease that occurs in about 1 to 2 percent of the population in Turkey. The incidence of psoriatic arthritis is between 0.2 and 0.4 percent.
About 30 percent of people with psoriasis have a chance of developing psoriatic arthritis. The disease, which manifests itself with symptoms such as swelling, redness, or pain in the joints, can lead to serious consequences, including disability, if it is not treated early. Therefore, it is important to have regular tests and examinations for early diagnosis and treatment.
What Is Psoriasis Rheumatism (Psoriatic Arthritis)?
Psoriasis, a skin disease, manifests itself with scaling and rash on the skin. It can be seen on the elbows, scalp, forehead, face and above the knees, and rarely in the genital area or in the folds of the skin. While it is sometimes seen in the form of small plaques, it can sometimes spread to the whole skin.
Psoriasis is usually caused by the immune system targeting and attacking the skin. In some patients, the immune system attacks not only the skin but also the joints. Thus, inflammation occurs in the joints.
This condition is called psoriatic rheumatism or psoriatic arthritis. It can occur in the hand, foot, shoulder, elbow and knee joints. Occasionally it can also occur in the spine or in the joints between the spine and pelvis.
Psoriasis rheumatism occurs in about 30 per cent of patients with psoriasis. Psoriasis rheumatism usually begins between the ages of 30 and 40, but it can also develop as a child.
Until the age of 65, patients who do not have psoriatic rheumatism are not expected to develop the disease after this age. The disease can affect only one joint or several joints at the same time.
What Are The Symptoms Of Psoriasis Rheumatism (Psoriatic Arthritis)?
Psoriatic arthritis is more severe in women, in patients with more than 5 joints affected by arthritis at the same time, and in patients with arthritis that starts before the age of 20.
For some patients, this process can lead to disability. Therefore, early diagnosis and treatment is of great importance. The symptoms that may occur with psoriatic arthritis can be listed as follows:
- Redness, swelling, and pain in small joints such as the knee or hand,
- Limited range of motion,
- Sausage-like swelling and pain in the toes,
- Joint destruction and shortening in the fingers,
- Low back pain and spinal arthritis in young men,
- In rare cases, symptoms such as inflammation in the eye’s retina or white layer, mitral valve disease, aortic valve disease, or dry eyes may be seen.
In the areas where the disease develops, swelling, pain, and limited range of motion can occur simultaneously in many small and large joints. Most patients start with complaints of pain or severe stiffness, especially in the morning.
In advanced cases, patients may become unable to do their daily activities on their own and may need the help of another person.
In some patients, joint destruction can occur rapidly, and this can lead to disabilities and permanent deformities in the spine.
How Is Psoriasis Rheumatism (Psoriatic Arthritis) Diagnosed?
To diagnose psoriatic arthritis, the first step is to listen to the patient’s medical history. Arthritis symptoms are investigated in swollen and painful joints, as well as nail and skin changes. X-rays are requested to detect joint damage.
In cases where the joints or spine need to be investigated in detail, methods such as magnetic resonance imaging, tomography, or ultrasound can be used.
The symptoms of diseases such as gout, rheumatoid arthritis, and osteoarthritis may be similar to those of psoriatic arthritis. Therefore, blood tests are effective in differentiating psoriatic arthritis from these diseases.
How To Treat Psoriasis Rheumatism (Psoriatic Arthritis)?
After the diagnosis of psoriatic arthritis, medication is needed to eliminate the disease. During treatment, corticosteroids or drugs that regulate the immune system are usually used.
Some medications used in the treatment of psoriatic arthritis are also known to have therapeutic properties for psoriasis. Psoriatic arthritis is a disease that can lead to disability in advanced cases, so early diagnosis and treatment is essential.