If you have been diagnosed with psoriasis, it's important that you understand your risks when it comes to developing psoriatic arthritis as well as other comorbidities. Both psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis are progressive conditions that can result in debilitating symptoms and cause further comorbidities beyond psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis. Here's what you need to know about your risks for comorbidities when you have psoriasis.
According to the National Psoriasis Foundation, 30% of people who have psoriasis will develop psoriatic arthritis at some point in time. Psoriatic arthritis is a painful condition of the joints that causes stiffness and swelling. The affected joints can be anywhere in the body, not just at the location(s) of the patches of psoriasis. You can develop psoriatic arthritis in any number of joints. If it's four or less, it'll be called oligoarticular. If five or more joints are affected, it's called polyarticular.
Currently, there is no cure for psoriatic arthritis. Rheumatologists develop treatment plans for patients to control symptoms and prevent joint damage. But, since it is a progressive condition and there is no cure, prevention is the key to remaining able-bodied and to avoiding becoming debilitated by the arthritic condition.
If you do develop psoriatic arthritis, you may go on to develop musculoskeletal issues. Here are three additional comorbidities you need to be aware of, and they are:
- dactylitis — inflammation of a finger or toe
- enthesitis — inflammation of ligaments or tendons
- spondylitis — inflammation of the spinal column
Rarely, some people's psoriatic arthritis becomes so severe that it develops what is called arthritis mutilans, which is when arthritis permanently disfigures and disables the small bones in the fingers and hands.
Therefore, if you notice any pain and/or swelling in any part of your musculoskeletal system, seek a referral to a rheumatologist for a medical evaluation to determine whether or not you have developed psoriatic arthritis or any of the additional comorbidities. That way, treatment can begin to reduce your risks of the condition(s) becoming debilitating and resulting in a disability.
Treatments for psoriatic arthritis and the various comorbidities depend largely on the severity of the condition and include pharmaceuticals, creams, injections, and, in some cases, surgery to replace the damaged joint. As with all medical conditions and health concerns, be sure to discuss all prescription and over-the-counter medications you are taking with your rheumatologist so he or she can develop a treatment plan for you that will not be contraindicative to anything.
To learn more information about psoriatic arthritis, reach out to a rheumatologist near you.