What are the Early Warning Signs of Psoriatic Arthritis?

Psoriatic arthritis is a condition that can cause joint pain and stiffness, and this is often seen in people who already have psoriasis, a skin condition marked by red, scaly patches. While psoriasis typically appears before joint symptoms, sometimes both conditions arise simultaneously. The early signs of psoriatic arthritis include sore, stiff, and swollen joints, which can occur anywhere in the body, from fingers to the back. The symptoms can vary from very little, that is, mild pain, to very severe pain in the joints. Both psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis can have periods of exacerbation (flares) and periods of improvement (remission). During flares, symptoms worsen and can cause a big problem, while during remission, they subside and, thus, provide relief. Overall, psoriatic arthritis requires ongoing management to alleviate symptoms and prevent joint damage. This article outlines the important question -” What are the early warning signs of Psoriatic Arthritis”? So, now let’s dive deep and learn about this condition in detail.

What is Psoriatic Arthritis?

Psoriatic arthritis is a type of arthritis that affects few people who already have psoriasis — a disease that causes red patches of skin topped with silvery scales. Most people develop psoriasis many years before the diagnosis of psoriatic arthritis. But for others, they can occur at the same time also.

The main symptoms of psoriatic arthritis can be stiffness of joints, swelling in joints, and pain in them. This can affect any body part, including your fingertips and spine, and range from mild to severe. As such, there is no complete cure for psoriatic arthritis. Majorly the Treatment can be to control the symptoms and prevent joint damage.

Also Read: Arthritis: Treatment for Women

How Does Psoriatic Arthritis Start?

Psoriatic arthritis starts around the age of 40 to 59 years. This disease primarily affects the skin causing red hives and scaly patches before it impacts the joints. When this condition acts upon the joints (finger and knee joints), it leads to swollen, stiff, warm, and painful joints. It happens when the body’s immune system rapidly and harshly attacks the healthy tissues and cells. To respond to this attack, the defense system induces joint Inflammation and excessive production of skin cells. It is believed that environmental factors (stress, alcohol, drugs, and smoking) and genetics can be factors contributing to this immune system response.

What are the Early Warning Signs Of Psoriatic Arthritis?

Early warning signs of Psoriatic arthritis (PsA) can be noticed to prevent it. Given below are psoriatic arthritis symptoms:

Psoriatic arthritis can cause a high amount of Inflammation in the joints, which can cause pain and stiffness in the joints. This pain can be felt in one joint or other joints. This condition of psoriatic arthritis can affect any organ, especially fingers, knees, ankles, lower back, and toes. Sometimes, symptoms might come again, called a flareup of the condition. The signs of psoriatic arthritis may occur at first unnoticed but gradually manifest with other symptoms.

Also Read: How to Get Rid of Joint Pain in Winter?

Early signs of psoriatic arthritis in hands are Bumping or denting of the nails. This is known as the Pitting of nails. Other ways of spotting pitted nails can be observed for the changes in the nails’ color or unwanted thickening of nails. Also, the shape of the nail might change. This condition may also affect the nails’ appearance and cause them to look like an infection from fungus.

Nails can fall off of the finger, and this is called onycholysis. Based on the cause of infection, nails may change their color over time. Sometimes, they may turn yellow or whitish gray, or they may become greenish purple, too. Onycholysis is usually not painful.

This can cause spondylitis and can disfigure the spine and cause pain in it. The psoriatic arthritis symptoms may also include swelling, stiffness, and tenderness in the affected joints, particularly in the fingers and toes.

Psoriatic arthritis occurs in the small joints of the body; smaller joints might be the fingers of the hands or toes, which spreads and progresses to larger joints.

The eye’s middle layer is known as uvea; its swelling is called uveitis. If you notice these symptoms, contact your healthcare professional immediately. Early diagnosis is essential in preventing complications like glaucoma, cataracts, and optic nerve damage.

Here are a few other psoriatic arthritis symptoms and signs:

  • Foot pain
  • Fatigue
  • Swelling and pain around tendons
  • Stiffness and tiredness in the morning
  • Less range of motion
  • Eye redness and pain
  • Scaly skin, especially on your knees, elbows, and scalp

How Psoriatic Arthritis Affects Our Body?

There are many different effects of Psoriatic arthritis on other parts of the body. Let us discuss all, one by one, below:

Effects on the skin, hair, and nails

Mild psoriatic arthritis typically occurs with occasional joint pain and stiffness, often manageable with over-the-counter pain relievers and modifications. These symptoms can be visible on these parts of the body due to psoriatic arthritis:

  • rough, scaly patches on the skin
  • a raised, silver coating on some of these patches
  • changes in the color of the skin
  • Dandruff-like flakes on the scalp
  • Thickening of nails
  • ridged, pitted nails
  • separation of nails from the nail bed or finger (onycholysis)
  • itching and pain

Skin symptoms majorly affect the parts like elbows, knees, lower back, and scalp, but they can occur anywhere.

Effects on the musculoskeletal system

The immune reaction occurring in psoriasis and PsA causes Inflammation of the joints, which can affect the musculoskeletal system in different ways. The Inflammation or swelling resulting from the PsA may cause pain and stiffness in the joints, causing difficulty in their movement.

Effects on the cartilage

In Psoriatic arthritis, the cartilage at the end of the bones becomes damaged and breaks down, resulting from prolonged Inflammation. When the cartilage erodes its structure or gets damaged, then, it causes very severe pain in the tissues connecting with the joint. Other structures like tendons or ligaments might also be affected by PsA.

Effects on the immune system

This is an autoimmune condition, which means it impacts the way the immune system works and is self-harming for the body. In this condition, instead of harming foreign substances, it kills the healthy body cells of the affected person.

In PsA, the body’s immune system attacks its joints, the tendons, and the connection between the tendons and ligaments. If a person already has psoriasis, it might also affect the immune system and flare up its reactions.

Effects on the eyes and vision

Swelling within the eyes or around the eye area can also lead to infection. Uveitis, as discussed above, can occur. So, a person with PsA needs to get their eyes checked by the doctor regularly.

Effects on the digestive system

People with problems like IBD or Crohn’s disease are more prone to this Inflammation of psoriatic arthritis. People who have PsA are at a higher risk of getting Inflammatory bowel disease(IBD) conditions.

Effects on the respiratory system

People with PsA have a very high chance of getting COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease), which thus affects the respiratory capacity of the lungs.

Effects on the cardiovascular system

People with PsA are more likely to develop cardiovascular disease. PsA increases the risk of angina, heart attack, and stroke.

Effects on mental health

PsA affects mental and emotional health in addition to physical health. Symptoms such as pain and fatigue also increase the risk of anxiety and depression in people with PsA. Psoriasis and PsA may also reduce the self-confidence of the patient and cause feelings of embarrassment and depression.

The bottom line

This article addressed the question “What are the early warning signs of Psoriatic Arthritis”. We learn that PsA is an autoimmune disease that causes joint inflammation, leading to pain, swelling, stiffness, and redness in the joints and connective tissues. There are many early warning signs for psoriatic arthritis that need to be taken care of and, thus, if observed, must be consulted with the doctor. It can also cause fatigue, nail changes, and other symptoms. PsA affects many body parts differently and can hamper their functioning or physiology. People with PsA are at higher risk of developing cardiovascular disease and depression. Many people with PsA also have skin symptoms characteristic of psoriasis. There is no permanent cure for PsA, but medication can help to manage its symptoms and prevent further joint damage. If you observe any signs or symptoms, consult your doctor immediately.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the different ways of treating Psoriatic Arthritis?

Treatments for PsA can be to manage symptoms, reduce the frequency and severity of symptoms, slow disease progression, and prevent permanent damage.

How does psoriasis affect daily life?

Discomfort is a major effect, but also embarrassment about physical symptoms of silver flakes, constant itching, and skin redness. Also, low self-esteem is another effect that can occur due to the need for continuous bathing, wearing covered clothes, and changing clothes frequently due to flaking and skin problems.

What is the end stage of psoriatic arthritis?

The end stage of psoriatic arthritis is bone, joint, or cartilage damage, which can result in significant complications later. So, it is necessary to consult a doctor to observe early warning signs.

Are eggs bad for psoriatic arthritis?

Eggs contain some proinflammatory cytokines which might be the reason that they increase Inflammation in PsA. However, this topic needs more research, so more needs to be proven.

What are the symptoms of psoriatic arthritis In the knee?

Psoriatic arthritis knee symptoms may include swelling, stiffness, pain, and difficulty moving the joint.

Which season is bad for psoriasis?

Winter can be the most challenging season for psoriasis management because the air is cold and dry, which can cause itching and dry skin. Lesions become flakier, and skin becomes itchier. Moisturizing lotion can be a help at this time. Consult your doctor for better advice and prevent complications.

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