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"Is psoriatic arthritis caused by psoriasis?"
I'm 29 and I have had psoriasis for a long time. Does this mean I will develop arthritis as well? Can I do anything to lessen the severity?
Psoriasis, as you known, is a chronic condition which is autoimmune, meaning that the body's own immune system is too active and produces the symptoms. Most commonly, these symptoms are found in the skin, and result in the red, itchy, scaling spots that are characteristic of psoriasis. This same process may affect the nails, leading to pits and deformities of the nails. Finally, some patients with psoriasis also develop a form of arthritis, or pain in the joints. It is not the case that all patients with psoriasis develop psoriatic arthritis. In fact, if you have had psoriasis for a long time with out developing any symptoms of arthritis that is encouraging that maybe you will not. The type of arthritis symptoms that would occur if it were psoriatic arthritis would be pain and stiffness in the joints, mostly in the mornings but then improving over the day with activity. There are many excellent treatments for psoriasis, both for the joint and for the skin manifestations. The exact treatment that is used will depend on how extensive your symptoms are. You will need to discuss this with your dermatologist and possibly with a rheumatologist (if you have joint pain) to help you decide.
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