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The Link Between Psoriasis and Psoriatic Arthritis

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How Psoriasis and Psoriatic Arthritis Are Connected continued...

Psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis share a genetic link. Often there is a family history of either condition.  About 40% of people who develop psoriatic arthritis have relatives with either psoriasis or psoriatic arthritis.

Scientists don't yet know which genes are responsible for psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis. Studies are under way to find genetic markers.

Discovering which genes are involved in psoriatic arthritis may help lead to new treatments. It isn't currently possible to predict which people with psoriasis will go on to develop psoriatic arthritis.

Psoriasis Triggers

Researchers have been able to determine a number of triggers for psoriasis. These include:

Stress. For some people, stress can cause psoriasis flare-ups.

Some medications. Certain medications can make existing skin lesions worse or prompt a psoriasis flare-up. These include:

  • Lithium
  • Drugs used to treat malaria (hydroxychloroquine)

Strep infection. For some people with psoriasis, strep throat infection is believed to lead to guttate psoriasis. This is a form of the disease that causes red spots to form on the skin.  

Lack of ultraviolet light. Winter's shorter days can also make psoriasis symptoms worse. That's because the sun's ultraviolet light helps clear skin plaques and lesions for many people.

Skin injury. Insect bites, sunburn, or scratches can be a trigger for psoriasis. This is known as a "Koebner response."

Some studies suggest that people with more severe psoriasis may be more likely to develop psoriatic arthritis. So far there's no certain proof. But a possible link means it is important to treat psoriasis skin lesions as soon as they occur.

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Jennifer Robinson, MD on November 03, 2014
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