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Psoriatic Arthritis: What You Need to Know

About 125 million people worldwide have psoriasis, and 10%-30% of them develop psoriatic arthritis. Psoriatic arthritis is basically a combination of two conditions, psoriasis and arthritis, where you present with swollen joints and red scaly patches on your skin.

At Skinworks Dermatology, with three New York City locations, dermatologist Javier Zelaya, MD, and our team are proud to offer excellent care and pain management solutions for our patients who suffer from psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis. 

What are the symptoms of psoriatic arthritis?

Psoriatic arthritis can affect anyone at any age, though it typically starts between ages 30 and 50. Those with psoriasis typically develop psoriatic arthritis about 10 years after their psoriasis begins.

WIth psoriatic arthritis, your immune system attacks your joints and your skin. Symptoms of psoriatic arthritis include:

If you have these symptoms or if you have psoriasis and are beginning to experience joint pain and stiffness, then you may want to make an appointment with us to get tested for psoriatic arthritis (PsA).

What causes psoriatic arthritis?

Doctors aren’t certain what causes PsA, though we do know that it runs in families. About 40% of people with PsA have at least one relative who also has the condition. 

We also believe that the condition stems from a combination of environmental and genetic factors. Whether or not you have a genetic predisposition, PsA is usually triggered initially by something in the environment like a virus, extreme stress, or an injury.

How we treat psoriatic arthritis

There’s no cure for PsA, so the goal of treatment is symptom management, mainly the skin rashes and bouts of joint inflammation. We work with you to develop a specific treatment plan, with goals and measurement of your progress. 

With drug therapies, we may opt for one or more medications, like:

NSAIDs

Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs work by controlling inflammation and swelling in your joints.

DMARDs

Disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs protect your joints and slow the progression of PsA.

Biologic drugs

These work by targeting and lessening certain PsA symptoms in your body.

Steroids

These control inflammation; they’re similar to NSAIDs, just much stronger and with more side effects.

Immunosuppressants

These medications relax the overactive immune response in your body that causes a PsA flare-up.

Topical treatments

Over-the-counter and prescription topical gels, ointments, and lotions can provide relief for the psoriasis symptoms of PsA.

Light therapy

This treatment combines medication with a bright light that targets your psoriatic rashes to reduce their severity as well as your risk for infection and the development of other illnesses.

There are also a few simple lifestyle changes that you can make to improve your condition, such as exercising, eating a healthy diet, and reducing the stress in your life.

For more information on treating psoriatic arthritis, call the Skinworks Dermatology office nearest you or request an appointment online.

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