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Psoriatic arthritis

Psoriatic arthritis is associated with psoriasis on the skin. Approximately 40 percent of people with psoriasis develop psoriatic arthritis, although it often may go undiagnosed, particularly in its milder forms. It can develop at any time, but for most people it appears between the ages of 30 and 50. 

Both genetic and environmental factors seem to be associated with the development of psoriatic arthritis. The immune system plays an important role. Prompt diagnosis and treatment can relieve pain and inflammation and possibly help prevent progressive joint involvement and damage. Without treatment, psoriatic arthritis can potentially be disabling and crippling.

The diagnosis
Psoriatic arthritis can develop slowly with mild symptoms, or it can develop quickly and be severe. Early recognition, diagnosis and treatment of psoriatic arthritis can help prevent or limit extensive joint damage that occurs in later stages of the disease. ī

Generally, one or more of the following symptoms appears:  

  • Generalized fatigue¬†
  • Tenderness, pain and swelling over tendons¬†
  • Swollen fingers and toes¬†
  • Stiffness, pain, throbbing, swelling and tenderness in one or more joints¬†
  • A reduced range of motion¬†
  • Morning stiffness and tiredness¬†
  • Nail changes-for example, the nail separates from the nail bed and/or becomes pitted and mimics fungus infections¬†
  • Redness and pain of the eye, such as conjunctivitis

The disease can develop in a joint after an injury and may mimic a cartilage tear. The diagnosis of psoriatic arthritis may sometimes be made only after repeated episodes. Muscle or joint pain can occur without joint inflammation (swelling). Tendonitis and bursitis may be prominent features. Swelling of the fingers and toes can suggest a "sausage-like" appearance, known as dactylitis. Psoriatic arthritis usually affects the distal joints (those closest to the nail) in fingers or toes. The lower back, wrists, knees or ankles also may be affected.
In 85 percent of patients, skin disease precedes joint disease. Therefore, it is important to tell your dermatologist if you have any aches and pains.

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Merck Serono are the founding sponsors of World Psoriasis Day


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