Psoriatic arthritis (PsA) is a chronic autoimmune disease that affects millions every year. It can be diagnosed at any age, though it is most common between the ages of 30 and 50. There is no cure for PsA and the damage caused can be permanent, if not caught and treated early. Finding the right treatment can result in symptoms that are well controlled or even symptom remission.
Psoriatic Arthritis Symptoms
Autoimmune diseases cause the body’s immune system to attack normal, healthy tissues of the body. These attacks create damaging inflammation. For PsA, the joints and anywhere tendons and ligaments attach to bone, are what’s attacked. About 15% of people who have psoriasis also develop psoriatic arthritis, but psoriatic arthritis can still develop without ever having psoriasis.
Symptoms can often include swollen, stiff, and painful joints as well as fatigue and reduced range of motion among others. If left untreated, permanent joint damage from the inflammation can occur.
Classifying Psoriatic Arthritis
During the diagnosis process, the number of joints that are affected helps establish the severity. PsA is typically classified as mild or severe.
- Mild PsA, also called Oligoarticular – Affecting 4 or fewer joints.
- Severe PsA, also called Polyarticular– Affecting 4 or more joints.
PsA is also found most often in these areas of the body:
- Spondylitis – Spinal column inflammation. This results in stiffness in the neck, lower back, and sacroiliac joints.
- Enthesitis – Enthesis inflammation (where tendons or ligaments insert into bone). The bottoms of te feet, Achille’s tendon, ribs, and spine are the commonly affected areas. Enthesitis also causes the area’s tissues to become solid or ropey.
- Dactylitis– Inflammation causes swelling in the entire toe or finger, coining the term “sausage digits”. The swollen digits occur only on one side of the body.
Future Treatment Options and ForCare
Treatment options available today help with reducing pain and inflammation and stopping the progression of the disease. With early intervention, psoriatic arthritis can be successfully managed in most cases. For a small percentage, effectively treating psoriatic arthritis remains out of reach. This can be due to existing medical conditions, or a treatment that is no longer effective due to an intolerance or immunity, or several other reasons.
Clinical research and the drive to find effective treatment options for everyone is the answer to those treatment gaps. ForCare is currently enrolling studies that are looking into alternative treatment options for those diagnosed with psoriatic arthritis. If you or someone you love has been diagnosed with psoriatic arthritis, one of our studies may be an option for you. Qualified participants receive study medication and care at no charge and reimbursement for time and travel. To learn more click HERE.