Have you been diagnosed with psoriatic arthritis? If so, there’s a good chance that a close family member also struggles with this autoimmune condition or with psoriasis, the chronic skin disease that causes scaly, flaky red and white patches that is often a precursor of psoriatic arthritis. In fact, according to a study published by the National Institutes of Health, somewhere between 33 and 50 percent of psoriatic arthritis sufferers have at least one first-degree relative (i.e., full sibling or biological parent) with either psoriatic arthritis or psoriasis. This research suggests a strong, genetic component to the development of psoriatic arthritis.

Current research also indicates that genetics play a role in developing psoriasis, with or without psoriatic arthritis. A child who has one parent with psoriasis has approximately a 28 percent chance of developing it. This percentage jumps to 65 if both parents suffer from psoriasis. However, many people develop psoriasis without any family history of the disease.

Scientists still aren’t completely sure why some people with psoriasis go on to develop psoriatic arthritis and others don’t. Anywhere between 20 and 30 percent of people with psoriasis eventually develop psoriatic arthritis, usually about seven to ten years after the skin symptoms first appear. Although anyone can develop psoriatic arthritis at any age, it is more commonly found in adults, and the risk of developing the condition rises with age, peaking before the age of 60.

Treating Psoriatic Arthritis

Although there is currently no cure for psoriatic arthritis, many patients find that treating the inflammation and other symptoms provides some much-needed relief. Psoriatic arthritis is a chronic, progressive condition, but exercise, medication, and other therapy can help prevent joint damage.

Symptoms of Psoriatic Arthritis

As with other forms of arthritis, psoriatic arthritis generally causes painful inflammation of the joints. This inflammation results in stiffness, swelling, and difficulty moving. Joints on one side or both sides of the body can be affected and can sometimes even feel warm to the touch. Other potential symptoms include:

  • Pain in the Achilles’ tendon or sole of the foot (also known as Achilles tendinitis and plantar fasciitis)
  • Joint pain in the hands and feet
  • Swollen and tender digits (fingers and toes)
  • Lower back pain due to a condition called spondylitis
  • Eye inflammation (uveitis)
  • Gastrointestinal symptoms
  • Nail pitting

If you are experiencing symptoms of psoriatic arthritis, it’s important to see a doctor. Since many autoimmune health issues share similar symptoms, a rheumatologist who specializes in autoimmune diseases will be in the best position to properly diagnose your condition and develop an individualized treatment plan for you.

Let Advanced Rheumatology of Houston help with your psoriatic arthritis!

Whether you have already been diagnosed with psoriatic arthritis or are experiencing joint pain or other symptoms with or without psoriasis, please call Advanced Rheumatology of Houston at (281) 766-7886 to schedule an appointment. Our caring team of experts can work with you to give you the tools you need to reduce your symptoms, relieve pain, and increase your quality of life.