Psoriatic Arthritis: Types, Causes, Symptoms & Treatments

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By Miriam Jones Bradley, RN HealthDay Reporter

Most people are familiar with osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis. Psoriatic arthritis may be a new concept for others. What you need to understand about psoriatic arthritis, including its symptoms, types, and treatments.

What is psoriatic arthritis?

Psoriatic Arthritis (PsA) is a progressive condition characterized by inflammation of the joints, enthuses and the places where the tendons or ligaments attach to the bones. It occurs when the immune response goes into overdrive. It causes swelling and pain. This condition is closely related to psoriasis. Some people who have psoriatic arthritis first develop skin problems, but most sufferers of psoriatic disease do.

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Types of psoriatic arthritis

Johns Hopkins Medicine describes five types of psoriatic arthritis.

Psoriatic Spondylitis is arthritis in the lower back or spine.

Risk factors and causes of psoriatic arthritis

According to the American College of Rheumatology, the cause of psoriatic arthritis is not fully understood. However, several factors are known.

Strep throat: The strep bacteria is suspected to be the cause.

Other factors that can increase the risk of PsA or put you at high-risk include:

Trauma of the bones or joints

According to the Arthritis Foundation, some scientists believe that genes and environmental triggers such as trauma or viruses might play a role in the development PsA.

According to a recent study published in the journal JAMA Dermatology there appears to be a causal relationship between inflammatory intestinal disease and psoriasis/PsA. Researchers said that the findings had implications for managing psoriasis and inflammatory bowel diseases in clinical practice.

Psoriatic Arthritis Symptoms

The symptoms of psoriatic arthritis vary widely from person to person, according to the U.S. National Institutes of Health. These include:

Joint stiffness is pain and swelling in one or more joints. Tenderness where ligaments or tendons attach to bones. Eye inflammation can cause eye pain, redness and blurred vision. Some people may develop inflammatory bowel disease.

Treatments for Psoriatic Arthritis

According to the Arthritis Foundation, because it affects the skin as well as the joints, psoriatic arthritis is a difficult condition to treat. The treatment includes a combination therapy that includes both medications and non-drug treatments such as heat, cold, exercise and massage.

The following medications are used to treat psoriatic arthritis:

Non-drug treatments include:

Water therapy - some people find that they can move more easily in the water because the weight of the body is supported.