Psoriatic arthritis (PsA) is a chronic autoimmune condition that can cause joint pain, stiffness, and swelling. Here are just some red flag signs of psoriatic arthritis that you have to be on the lookout for:
Persistent joint pain, especially if it occurs in the fingers, toes, lower back, or areas around the joints.
Swelling and stiffness in the joints that doesn’t subside, particularly in the morning or after periods of inactivity.
Presence of psoriasis, a skin condition characterised by red, scaly patches of skin. Not everyone with PsA has psoriasis, but it’s a common precursor. That’s why you really need to always check for red flag signs of psoriatic arthritis to be completely sure.
Changes in the nails, such as pitting, thickening, or separation from the nail bed. This can occur before other symptoms become noticeable.
Unexplained fatigue or a feeling of being constantly tired or rundown. If you have visible signs of this condition coupled with unexplained tiredness, this could be one of the red flag signs of psoriatic arthritis.
Joints that are tender to the touch or feel warm. You can notice pain or uncomfortable level of pain even with the slightest touch in joints. If you have psoriasis and you have this symptom, waste no time and get yourself checked.
Inflammation in the eyes, known as uveitis or iritis, which can cause redness, pain, and sensitivity to light. Make sure to also constantly check on your eyes for some abnormalities.
Prolonged stiffness in the morning or after long periods of rest, often lasting more than 30 minutes. It is expected to experience this in the morning because of inactivity for many hours.
However, if it does not go away even with some stretching exercise or walking around for a couple of minutes, it could be one of the red flag signs of psoriatic arthritis that needs immediate attention.
Difficulty moving certain joints or a reduced range of motion in affected joints. Of course, this is one of the most common symptoms of arthritis that happens to sufferers.
If someone is experiencing several of these symptoms persistently, it’s advisable to consult a healthcare professional for proper evaluation and diagnosis. Early detection and treatment can help manage symptoms of psoriatic arthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and other variations. Also, it can prevent long-term joint damage associated with psoriatic arthritis.
Managing the red flag signs of psoriatic arthritis typically involves a combination of medication, lifestyle changes, and therapies to reduce symptoms and prevent joint damage. Here are several strategies to help manage psoriatic arthritis:
Your doctor may prescribe medications such as the following:
– nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs),
– disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs),
– biologics, or
These are crucial to reduce inflammation, manage pain, and slow down joint damage.
Adopting healthy habits can significantly improve symptoms. You may want to prioritise these to maintain a healthy weight to reduce stress on joints by:
– exercising regularly (low-impact activities like swimming or cycling are gentle on joints),
– following a balanced diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and omega-3 fatty acids
– being disciplined and committed to exercising and having a healthy diet
– regularly checking on your weight loss after starting to adopt a healthier lifestyle (remember, this may take a couple months before significant weight loss is achieved)
Working with a physical therapist can help improve joint function, reduce pain, and increase mobility through targeted exercises and stretches.
Occupational therapists can suggest adaptations and assistive devices that make daily tasks easier on your joints. These therapies can also significantly reduce strain and discomfort.
Applying heat or cold packs to affected joints can help alleviate pain and reduce inflammation. Experiment to see which works better for you. Here, you may use hot or cold compress. Furthermore, you may also try liniments and other ointments that provide temporary relief to the pain.
Just make sure that you are not allergic to any of these topical products. Remember, psoriasis may get worse with the use of some products that you apply directly on to your skin.
Stress can exacerbate symptoms so practicing relaxation techniques like meditation, deep breathing exercises, or yoga can be beneficial.
Modify activities that put excessive strain on your joints. Use assistive devices or ergonomic tools to make tasks easier and reduce joint stress. Your doctor can recommend different products for this.
Regularly visit your healthcare provider to monitor your condition, track progress, and adjust treatment as needed. It is important to note that your treatment may vary depending on the progress you have been making.
They may either stick to your current regimen or change it to better address your condition, especially if the red flag signs of psoriatic arthritis have gone worse.
Joining support groups or connecting with others who have psoriatic arthritis can provide valuable emotional support. Furthermore, they can also provide helpful tips for managing the condition.
Some people find relief through complementary therapies such as the following:
– dietary supplements
– other traditional forms of healing
However, consult with your healthcare provider first before trying these. It is to ensure they are safe and won’t interact with your current treatments.
The management plan for your red flag signs of psoriatic arthritis can vary for each person. As such, it’s essential to work closely with healthcare professionals to develop a tailoured approach that suits your specific needs and lifestyle.