Can You Have Psoriatic Arthritis If You Dont Have Psoriasis?

Curated by Claudia Shannon / Research Scientist / ishonest

What are the symptoms of psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis?

Psoriatic arthritis causes stiffness, pain, and swelling around the joints. It can also lead to fatigue and changes to the nails.

Symptoms of psoriatic arthritis include:

  • tenderness, pain, or swelling in tendons
  • swelling in fingers or toes
  • throbbing, stiffness, swelling, and soreness in joints
  • eye pain and redness, including conjunctivitis
  • decreased range of motion
  • nail changes, including pitted nails or separation from the nail bed
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Psoriasis mainly affects the skin. It can also affect your nails. Some of the main symptoms of psoriasis include:

  • raised, red, inflamed lesions on the torso, elbows, and knees
  • silvery, scaly plaques on the skin
  • small, red, individual spots on the skin
  • dry skin that can crack and bleed
  • itchy, burning, or sore skin
  • nails separating from the nail bed

Risk factors for psoriatic arthritis

You’re at an increased risk for psoriatic arthritis if you have psoriasis. Family history of the condition also increases your risk. Many people with psoriatic arthritis have a parent or a sibling with the disease.

Age is another factor. People between the ages of 30 and 50 are at increased risk of developing psoriatic arthritis.

Diagnosing psoriatic arthritis

There is not a single test available that can confirm psoriatic arthritis. Your doctor will likely examine your joints and fingernails, and press on your heels and feet to see if certain areas are tender. X-rays and MRI scans can be used to rule out other causes of joint pain.

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Laboratory tests, such as the rheumatoid factor test or the cyclic citrullinated peptide test, can suggest the possibility of rheumatoid arthritis.

Your doctor may also take fluid from a joint, usually the knee, to rule out gout.

Treating psoriatic arthritis

There’s no cure for psoriatic arthritis. Your doctor will instead focus on helping you manage your symptoms.

Common medications used to treat psoriatic arthritis include the following:

  • nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, such as ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) and naproxen sodium (Aleve)
  • disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs, such as methotrexate (Trexall), sulfasalazine (Azulfidine), and leflunomide (Arava)
  • immunosuppressants, such as azathioprine (Azasan, Imuran) and cyclosporine (Gengraf, Neoral, Sandimmune)
  • Tumor necrosis factor-alpha medications, including etanercept (Enbrel), golimumab (Simponi), adalimumab (Humira), and infliximab (Inflectra, Remicade)
  • plaque psoriasis medications, which include ustekinumab (Stelara), secukinumab (Cosentyx), and apremilast (Otezla)
Why is early treatment important?
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Psoriatic arthritis can cause permanent joint damage when left untreated. In severe cases, the joints may become so damaged that they no longer function. This is why recognizing it early is important for overall health.

Having psoriatic arthritis also increases your risks for other conditions, including:

  • obesity
  • heart disease
  • diabetes
  • depression

If you have psoriatic arthritis, it’s important to see your doctor for regular checkups. During your regular checkups, your doctor can monitor your weight, and cardiovascular and mental health. They can also test you for diabetes. Screenings can help you start treatment early if you develop any other conditions.

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