The cause of this disease is not really known; environmental changes, as well as changes in the immune system are possibilities, but it could also be partially inherited. Most of the times it occurs between the age of 20 - 50, but it is not limited to that. Diagnosing this disease is mostly done by x-rays, blood tests and joint fluid tests.
The Psoriasis usually precedes the Arthritis. There is no time span for that; it can vary from months to years. When it reveals itself, it can be recognized by the following symptoms:
- Pain and swelling in one or more joints.
- Swelling of fingers and/or toes which has an affect on them appearing like "sausages".
- Silver or grey scaly spots which can be found on the scalp, elbows, knees and/or lower end of the spine.
- Pitting of fingernails and/or toenails.
- Stiffness in the joints, usually in the mornings.
Psoriatic Arthritis can be treated and there are several options available:
Skin care, light treatments (UVB or PUVA), exercise, rest, heat and cold applications and splints are some of them. More drastic treatments are corrective cosmetics and surgery. The last occurs very rarely though.
Medications usually given are glucocorticoids, NSAIDs, DMARDs (disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs) such as methotrexate, sulfasalazine, gold, cyclosporine. I also found that recently studies have shown that vitamin D might improve the Arthritis, which in itself is already a major plus; nobody wants having to live in constant pain.
There are however more options to clear up both the Psoriasis and the Arthritis: Humira, Enbrel and Remicade are often administered when the previous medications don't work. All of these do a good job of clearing up the Psoriasis and keeping the Arthritis under control and preventing it from doing more damage.
Talk to your doctor about each of these medications and see what works best for you. In case Enbrel, Remicade or Humira are suggested, contact your health insurance and inquire what or how much they cover, since those treatments are rather expensive.
Even if you would have to pay some out of pocket, it is worth it; no price can be set on health and well being. Following in Christ's footsteps may cost some effort, determination and commitment, but it is worth it; no price can be set on His love, grace, mercy and the knowledge of having everlasting life!
Behold, I will bring it health and healing; I will heal them and reveal to them the abundance of peace and truth.