A type of arthritis that affects people who also have psoriasis is called psoriatic arthritis. Psoriasis is a skin condition characterized by itchy or sore patches of skin that is reddish with silvery scales. The most common areas affected by psoriasis are the elbows, scalp, back, knees, palms, and feet, but it can occur anywhere on the body.
When arthritic pain combines with psoriasis, it causes stiffness, pain, and swelling of the joints. In most cases, psoriatic arthritis is mild, but it can turn serious and can affect many joints. Skin and joint problems do not always occur simultaneously; skin issues may arise first, followed by arthritis, or vice versa.
Causes of psoriatic arthritis
Psoriatic arthritis is an autoimmune disease wherein the body’s immune system attacks healthy cells and tissues. This type of response inflames the joints and produces an excess of skin cells. The trigger of this abnormal response of the immune system is still not very clear, but there are certain likely causes of psoriatic arthritis:
- Genetic causes: Researchers have identified specific genetic markers that may be associated with psoriatic arthritis. Of those who are affected by the disease, 40% have a family history of the disease.
- Inflammation in the body: Arthritis is caused by inflammation. This inflammation may occur due to a combination of genes or other infections. For example, those affected with strep throat may end up having psoriatic arthritis that is triggered by a strep throat infection.
- Accident or injury: In some cases, this disease may be triggered due to an injury or accident to a single joint and may actually follow the injury.
- Obesity: People who are overweight are more likely to develop the disease.
Risk factors for psoriatic arthritis
The greatest risk factor of developing psoriatic arthritis is having psoriasis. One out of five patients affected by psoriasis is affected by this condition, and the common risk factors of psoriatic arthritis are:
- Psoriasis: Being affected by psoriasis is the single greatest risk factor for developing this disorder. Those with psoriasis lesions on their nails are especially prone to psoriatic arthritis.
- Family history: Most people diagnosed with this disease are bound to have a parent or sibling affected by it.
- Age: This disease can affect people of any age, but adults between the age of 30 and 50 years are more likely to develop psoriatic arthritis.
Psoriatic arthritis is more common in Caucasians than Asian Americans or African Americans. This disease typically affects people between the ages of 30 and 50 but can also occur in childhood. The joints that are most commonly affected by this disease are the wrists, knees, ankles, joints, and the lower back. The disease flares up with alternating periods of remission. In 60-80% of the patients, psoriasis precedes arthritis, while arthritis precedes psoriasis in 15-20% of the cases.