Psoriatic Arthritis is an autoimmune disease which causes pain, swelling and stiffness to the joints. It can occur at any age, and is seen equally in men and women. If not promptly treated, it can cause permanent damage to the bones surrounding the joints, which leads to pain, deformity, and loss of function. While we do not yet have a permanent cure, we are fortunate today to have many good options to treat psoriatic arthritis.
Anti-inflammatories, or NSAIDS, act quickly to try to decrease pain and swelling, but they do not treat the underlying disease. Examples include aspirin, ibuprofen, naprosyn, and diclofenac. Corticosteroids (cortisone), such as prednisone, are more powerful anti-inflammatories that are very effective, but can have severe side effects and their use should be limited in consultation with your doctor. A cortisone joint injection is a safe alternative to pills.
Disease Modifying Anti-Rheumatic Agents, or DMARDS, act slowly but treat the underlying cause of rheumatoid arthritis and in time, improve pain, swelling, stiffness and function. Biologic DMARDs are a new class which target specific inflammatory proteins in the body.
Patients with psoriatic arthritis often need a combination of different medications to treat their condition. Over time, many people with psoriatic arthritis only know they have it because of the medications they require. Unfortunately, the arthritis can return if the medications are stopped.
Exercise, a good diet, and education remain crucial elements in the treatment of psoriatic arthritis.
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