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Psoriatic Arthritis – Causes, Symptoms, Treaments | Psoriasis Pictures, Symptoms, Treatment, Cures

Psoriatic Arthritis – Causes, Symptoms, Treaments

p>Psoriatic arthritis is a sometimes debilitating form of joint pain and arthritic inflammation that may affect up to 30% of those who have psoriasis. It usually appears between the ages of 30 and 50 and can often go undiagnosed if one is not aware of the connection between psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis. Though there is no cure, the symptoms do sometimes come and go, and there are also a number of somewhat effective treatments.

The cause of psoriatic arthritis appears to involve the presence of a number of co-factors, including a genetic predisposition and environmental triggers. Psoriasis of the skin usually (approximately 80% of the time) appears before arthritic inflammation appears. Though different from rheumatoid arthritis, it is a form of rheumatic (meaning inflammatory) disease, and is associated with a few other rheumatic diseases which are collectively referred to as “spondyloarthropathies” which refers to arthritis of the spine. This group of diseases includes ankylosing spondylitis,  Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, inflammatory bowel disease, and reactive arthritis (which include’s Reiter’s disease) and some of the more common features of the group includes lower back pain and a higher incidence of a gene called HLA-B27. It has been suggested by some researchers that the presence of HLA-B27 makes one more susceptible to an arthritic reaction when infected by certain antigens, however, HLA-B27 by itself does not cause either psoriatic arthritis or the spondyloarthropathies, and one can have psoriatic arthritis without having HLA-B27.

There are a number of different types of psoriatic arthritis, and the most common is called the oligoarticular type, which accounts for more than 70% of cases and is defined by involvement of four or less joints. In 80% of cases of psoriatic arthritis there is a psoriatic pitting of the nails. There does not have to be a correlation between the severity of one’s arthritis and one’s psoriasis.

Because psoriatic arthritis can be quite serious and potentially debilitating, treatment often involves some of the more powerful anti-psoriatic agents such as cyclosporin, methotrexate, sulfasalazine, and systemic or local use of corticosteroids. More recently, many with psoriatic arthritis have found some relief from treatment with one of the newer “biologics” such as Enbrel, Humira, or Remicade, which inhibit an important part, called TNF-alpha, of the inflammatory response.

Some with psoriatic arthritis may also respond well to alternative treatments such as antibiotic therapy or diet modification. Because bacterial infection has been implicated as one of the co-factors for triggering rheumatic disease in general, antibiotic therapy is often worth exploring for those with auto-immune rheumatic diseases. Many also find that removing certain foods or healing intestinal and digestive problems helps their arthritic symptoms. Some of the more common food triggers include sugars, gluten, starches, acidic foods, and nightshades, though there is a wide range of responses in this area. Supplements such as fish oils and other foods high in omega-3 fatty acids and coconut oil may also be helpful because of their roles in reducing inflammation and maintaining a healthy digestive system.

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