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Psoriatic Arthritis


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Physicians recognize a number of different forms of psoriatic arthritis. In some patients, the arthritic symptoms will affect the small joints at the ends of the fingers and toes. In others, symptoms will affect joints on one side of the body but not on the other. In addition, there are patients whose larger joints on both sides of the body simultaneously become affected, as in rheumatoid arthritis. Some people with psoriatic arthritis experience arthritis symptoms in the back and spine; in rare cases, called psoriatic arthritis mutilans, the disease destroys the joints and bones, leaving patients with gnarled and club-like hands and feet. In many patients, symptoms of psoriasis precede the arthritis symptoms; a clue to possible joint disease is pitting and other changes in the fingernails.

Most people develop psoriatic arthritis at ages 35-45, but it has been observed earlier in adults and children. Both the skin and joint symptoms will come and go; there is no clear relationship between the severity of the psoriasis symptoms and arthritis pain at any given time. It is unclear how common psoriatic arthritis is. Recent surveys suggest that between 1 in 5 people and 1 in 2 people with psoriasis may also have some arthritis symptoms.




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