Psoriasis is an autoimmune condition in which T-cells produced by the immune system attack the skin’s epithelial cells.

Between 10 and 30 percent of all psoriasis sufferers go on to develop psoriatic arthritis, a variant of the disease in which joints become inflamed.

Psoriasis and Arthritis   

Psoriatic arthritis manifests some time after the appearance of the characteristic psoriasis rash in 80 percent of all individuals with this condition. The condition usually presents initially in patients between 40 and 50 years of age.

The arthritis associated with psoriasis typically affects the knees, ankles and the joints of the feet. Psoriatic arthritis is also implicated in a painful inflammation of the spine called spondyloarthropathy that causes discomfort and impaired mobility in the neck, throughout the back and down into the buttocks.  Less frequently, psoriatic arthritis attacks the smallest joints at the ends of the fingers and the cartilage in tendons. Psoriatic arthritis pictures can be helpful for patients trying to identify joint symptoms.

Psoriasis-related arthritis can also inflame organ systems like the eyes, lungs and aorta. For that reason, it’s considered a potentially life threatening condition.

Medical experts aren’t sure what causes arthritis associated with psoriasis. There appears to be a genetic component, particularly for patients who go on to develop spondyloarthropathies. Patients whose immune systems are suppressed from other conditions are at greater risk for developing this type of psoriasis.

Psoriasis Arthritis Treatment

There is no known cure for the arthritis associated with psoriasis. Therapies focuses on symptomatic relief. Medications are generally the first line of treatment:

• Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs): This medication class includes familiar over-the-counter NSAIDs such as ibuprofen and naproxen as well as drugs that are only available through prescription.  NSAIDs relieve both the pain and the swelling associated with this type of arthritis.

• Disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs): Methotrexate, the most common DMARD used to treat the arthritis associated with psoriasis, slows the progression of joint damage. It can cause damage to other organ systems like the liver, kidneys and lungs, however.

• Immunosuppressants: Because of their serious side effects, immunosuppressants are only used in the most severe cases of this disease.

Psoriasis Arthritis Diet

While scientific studies have not confirmed the influence of nutritional factors upon this disease, many patients report that eating foods high in omega-3 oils helps control their symptoms. Omega-3 oil foods include cold-water fish like salmon and mackerel, as well as eggs, and canola and flax-seed oils.