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How Do You Know if It’s Psoriatic Arthritis?

Psoriatic arthritis can be mistaken for other conditions, such as rheumatoid arthtitis.

Psoriatic arthritis is a systemic autoimmune disease and an inflammatory form of arthritis. While it shares characteristics with other types of arthritis, there are ways to distinguish this disease and treat it accordingly.

One distinctive feature of psoriatic arthritis is the presence of psoriasis, a disease that causes thick, red, dry skin patches known as plaques, as well as pitted nails or nails that separate from the nail bed. Like psoriatic arthritis, psoriasis stems from a faulty immune response, in which the immune system mistakenly attacks healthy cells and tissues.

Roughly 30 percent of people with psoriasis may develop psoriatic arthritis, according to the Arthritis Foundation. “About 10 percent of people develop arthritis first, then psoriasis later,” says Eric Ruderman, MD, the clinical practice director of rheumatology at Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago. Symptoms of psoriatic arthritis include joint pain, swelling, stiffness (especially in the morning), and fatigue.

Psoriatic Arthritis Versus Rheumatoid Arthritis

As a review published in April 2015 in the journal Rheumatic and Musculoskeletal Diseases points out, psoriatic arthritis has several features in common with rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Both are autoimmune disorders causing joint inflammation and pain. But there are differences in how the diseases develop and affect the joints.

While RA is much more likely to affect the same joints on both sides of the body, psoriatic arthritis patients often have asymmetric arthritis, notes Kathleen Maksimowicz-Mckinnon, DO, a senior staff physician at Henry Ford Health System and an associate professor of medicine at Wayne State University in Detroit.

Read on: How Do You Know if It’s Psoriatic Arthritis? | Everyday Health

Read on: How Do You Know if It’s Psoriatic Arthritis? | Everyday Health

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