What is Psoriatic Arthritis?
Psoriatic arthritis is a form of arthritis that affects those who suffer from psoriasis. Psoriasis is a skin condition caused by an autoimmune disease where the skin builds up in raised patches covered with a silvery white buildup of dead skin cells. The skin can feel an look like scales. Psoriasis can manifest itself on any part of the body and is associated with a number of other serious health problems, including heart disease, depression, and diabetes. There are a variety of different types and forms of psoriasis, each having slightly different characteristics.
How do I know if I have Psoriasis?
Sometimes, a patch of scaly itchy skin can be eczema. Usually, your health care provider can tell the difference by simply looking at the patch of affected skin. A biopsy can also diagnose psoriasis. Psoriasis usually appears on the outside of the elbows, knees, or scalp. It can, however, appear in any location. Some psoriasis can be itchy, can burn, and can sting.
Psoriasis has a genetic component and can tend to run in families.
Psoriatic Arthritis causes pain, stiffness, and inflammation in and around your joints.
How does Psoriasis relate to Psoriatic Arthritis?
Roughly 30 percent of people who suffer from psoriasis will also develop psoriatic arthritis.
Psoriatic arthritis can develop slowly with mild symptoms, or it can come on quickly with severe symptoms. Early diagnosis can help prevent or limit the extensive joint damage that occurs in later stages of the disease.
Psoriatic arthritis can show up at any age (even in children). It occurs most frequently between ages 30 and 50. Men and women are both equally likely to get psoriatic arthritis.
Symptoms of Psoriactic arthritis are:
- Scaly skin
- Joint trouble
- Asymmetrical pain (for example, one knee affected, but not the other)
- Swollen fingers
- Foot pain
- Fingernail and toenail pitting
- Back trouble
- Eye problems, such as conjuctivitis or iritis
- Finger deformities
How is Psoriatic Arthritis treated?
The treatment of a particular psoriatic arthritis condition will depend a lot on the severity of the symptoms. Your doctor will likely ask you how your symptoms are affecting your daily life and exam your joints to see what kind of damage has already occurred or is taking place.
- Prescription medications are often prescribe, however, patients usually only need to take these medications during a flare up to halt the pain, stop the swelling, or slow down the joint damage.
- Physical thereapy may be prescribed to help patients maintain a healthy range of motion, flexibility and joint function.
- Anti-inflammatory medicines, such as advil, motrin, and aleve are usually taken if the symptoms are mild.
- There are some durgs called DMARDs, “Disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs) which can slow or stop the joint damage.
- Another presciption medication is Humira; this reduces joint damage and symptoms or arthritis. However, this drug doesn’t come without the dangerous side effect of double the risk of serious infections. Humira is given by injection every two weeks.
- Enbrel reduces joint damage and like Humira, it comes with the higher risk of infections. It is injected once or twice a week.
- Remicade reduces joint damage and symptoms of arthritis. It is administered in a hospital or clinic every two to eight weeks via IV which takes about two hours. Interesting to note: about 1/4 of this drug is a protein derived from mice!
- Simponi reduces joint damage and symptoms of arthritis. This is a self injectible medication that is given once a month. It increases the risk of infections, especially upper respiratory infections.
- Immunosuppressants – these drugs slow the joint damages, however they come with some undesirable side effects, such as higher risk of infection, anemia, and liver problems. Due to the side effects, your doctor will have to run blood tests every 1 to 3 months to check liver and blood counts and possibly blood pressure and kidney tests.
- Corticosteriods such as prednisone or cortisone injections are powerful immune suppressing drugs that can cut pain and swelling. the injections provide temporary relief of pain and inflammation. Over time, repeated injections can weaken tissue, damage nerves, and trigger flares of pain. These steriods can also cause bone thinning, weight gain, and facial swelling.
- Joint Replacement Surgery – this extreme measure can bring relief to painful joints and is reserved for people with joint destruction or pain that is not helped by medication and interferes with daily life.
How can I treat my Psoriatic Arthritis Naturally?
Some suggestions for holistic Proriatic Arthritis treatments are:
- Omega 3 Fatty Acids
- Diet and Weight Management
- Take a warm bath to help stiff joints and muscles
- Exercise – exercising in a swimming pool can alleviate the stress on your joints.
- Get a good night’s sleep
- Most important *** Eat a diet rich in plant-based foods***
A plant-based food diet is probably the best holistic treatment for Psoriatic Arthritis
Some of the foods that you eat can trigger an inflammatory response. There are numerous scientific studies that have found that many autoimmune diseases can be reversed through a diet rich in vegetables and fruit. Your diet should also be very low in animal based products, such as dairy (cheese, milk) and meats.