Psoriasis (a kind of chronic ‘ongoing’ skin problem) can lead to some complications, particularly if the disease is poorly controlled. One of the complications is a condition medically called psoriatic arthritis. There are some procedures and tests to help diagnose this joint-&-skin problem. How about with blood test – is it also required?
This kind of arthritis is found in some people with psoriasis, as the name suggests. It affects about 1 in 20 sufferers. It can come before or after psoriasis – however many times this complication comes after the disease.
Currently, there is still no clearly answer of how it occurs. Experts only tell that it may be caused by the abnormality of the body immune system’s response.
This abnormal response attacks the healthy cells, causing problems of joints and overproduction of skin cells. But the reason of why the body’s immune system turns on healthy cells is not entirely understood.
While the exact cause behind the problem is unclear yet, there are some factors and conditions that can play a key role in increasing your risk of developing the problem. These risk factors include:
- The ages! Though it may occur at any age, but many times it is often found at the ages of 30 to 50.
- If you have a first-degree relative with the same problem. First-degree relatives include parent, child, and sibling.
- If you are an individual who has psoriasis. It is undeniable that having this chronic (ongoing) skin problem can be a significant risk factor of psoriatic arthritis.
Like other forms of arthritis, typically psoriatic arthritis is characterized by joint stiffness, swelling, and pain that can affect any joints of the body such as spine or fingertips – but since it is closely related with psoriasis, sometime the symptoms of psoriasis (particularly such as pitting in the nails and skin patches) also can be found.
Unfortunately, there is no cure for the disease but some treatment options are available to help cope with the problem. With appropriate steps of treatment plan, the problem should be able to be controlled and not cause serious disability.
In general, to make the diagnosis of this joint-&-skin problem, doctor will analyze the symptoms that appear and perform a physical examination that may include:
- First, your doctor usually asks you whether or not you have psoriasis – though the problem can occur before psoriasis.
- Examining signs of the problem, particularly whether there is tenderness /swelling in your joints.
- Checking the abnormalities that may occur in your fingernails such as flaking, pitting, or other unusual symptoms.
- Soles of your feet may also be checked to find tender areas.
Actually, there is no specific test to make a clearly diagnosis of psoriatic arthritis because it also can be similar to other types of arthritis. But some tests can be used to rule out other possible causes of the problem.
One of tests to rule out other causes is a blood test. This test is usually essential to help find the answer whether or not the problem is caused by other forms of arthritis (especially such as rheumatoid arthritis).
An antibody medically called RF (Rheumatoid factor) is often found in people with rheumatoid arthritis. A blood test can be helpful whether or not your blood contains it.
Furthermore, blood test is also helpful for document the presence of inflammation.
Other tests that may be required for the diagnosis include: