This disease can happen at any age, but it’s usually found in people between 30 and 50 years old.
There’s no cure for psoriatic arthritis, but it’s important to discover it early so you and your doctor can make a treatment plan to slow the spread of the disease, ease pain, and protect your body. If left untreated, the disease can permanently harm joints and affect your range of motion.
It tends to run in families, too. If you’re related to someone with psoriatic arthritis, or if you have psoriasis, you should keep an eye out for symptoms.
What to Watch For
Symptoms can include:
- Lower back
Joints are more likely to be stiff first thing in the morning or after you rest for a while.
Joint warmth and swelling. Along with pain, inflammation can make your joints swollen and warm to the touch.
Nail problems. Psoriatic arthritis commonly causes changes to the nails, including pitting, breakage, or even separation of the nail from the nailbed.
Lower back pain. For about 20% of people with psoriatic arthritis, inflammation causes problems with the joints between your vertebrae, a condition called spondylitis. It also cause inflammation of the sacroiliac joint. In more severe cases, this can cause joints to fuse together.
Dactylitis. This is when entire fingers or toes swell to look like sausages. Signs of dactylitis can help doctors distinguish psoriatic arthritis from rheumatoid arthritis, which may affect more than one joint.
Eye problems. In some cases, people with psoriatic arthritis also experience eye problems. The same inflammatory process that causes joint problems can also damage other areas of the body such as eyes. Problems can include:
Fatigue. About half of people with psoriatic arthritis feel tiredness that affects their day-to-day activities. It’s caused by the inflammation that comes with psoriatic arthritis.
Trouble moving hands and fingers. The swelling and joint pain that can come with psoriatic arthritis can make even simple, day-to-day tasks hard.
What to Do
If you have any of the above symptoms, especially if you have psoriasis or it runs in your family, talk with your doctor or a rheumatologist (a doctor who specializes in arthritis) about what’s going on.