An Expert's Perspective on Treating Psoriatic Arthritis
Psoriatic arthritis is an autoimmune disease, a type of disease where the immune system attacks healthy tissue. In the case of psoriatic arthritis, a form of inflammatory arthritis, the body’s immune system attacks healthy joints and, often, skin. These attacks trigger pain, swelling, and stiffness. People with psoriatic arthritis most likely often also have psoriasis, a skin condition that causes red, scaly patches to form on the body and can cause the nails to lift from their nail beds. In most cases, people have psoriasis first before psoriatic arthritis presents, although sometimes they develop it after a diagnosis of psoriatic arthritis. Still, some psoriatic arthritis patients don’t develop psoriasis at all. It varies from person to person.
Psoriatic arthritis, like all forms of inflammatory arthritis, is difficult to diagnose. However, it’s important to get a diagnosis early and to start treatment as soon as possible to prevent worsening or permanent joint damage. Rheumatologist Erin Arnold, MD, discusses the most common questions she gets about treating psoriatic arthritis.
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