Source: Uni-Klinikum Erlangen
What is psoriatic arthritis (PsA)?
Psoriatic arthritis is an autoimmune disease in which the body's own immune cells attack not only the skin but also the joints and tendon attachments. It is typical for the disease to occur on the hands and feet, as a result of psoriasis of the skin and nails. Therefore, it can be assumed that the inflammation of the skin extends to the joints. However, the exact triggers of this disease have not yet been clarified.
How does psoriatic arthritis manifest itself?
Typical complaints are painful and swollen joints, but also tendon pain such as "tennis elbow" or Achilles tendon irritation. The disease is usually also associated with scaly skin rashes (psoriasis). The persistent inflammation of psoriatic arthritis can lead to numerous concomitant diseases, such as cardiovascular disease.
How do you recognise it?
Diagnosis is usually based on the principle of exclusion. This is especially true if the joint complaints occur with only a few signs on the skin. So far, there are no reliable methods or tests that give a quick and easy indication of the disease and its course. At present, imaging methods (such as X-rays, ultrasound and magnetic resonance imaging) are the most reliable way to make a diagnosis.
What can be done about psoriatic arthritis?
Close cooperation between rheumatologists and dermatologists is important for the success of the therapy. Depending on the symptoms, an individualised anti-inflammatory therapy is initially carried out with anti-rheumatic drugs such as methotrexate or TNF inhibitors. In the further course, targeted drugs, so-called biologics, lead to a successful therapy. Physiotherapy can also help to keep the joints flexible.
Tips for everyday life
A balanced diet rich in fibre, regular exercise and abstinence from nicotine will reduce the signs of the disease.
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