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Who Is Likely to Develop Psoriatic Arthritis?

When you have psoriasis, your chance of having other illnesses also rises. One of them is psoriatic arthritis. This inflammatory condition causes painful, stiff, and swollen joints. It can also affect the tissue of your tendons and ligaments. If you get the disease, it often happens between ages 35 and 45.1

Sometimes psoriatic arthritis is severe and impacts a number of different joints. But it is usually mild. It can cause lasting joint damage and reduce your quality of life and physical health. Research shows that around half of people with psoriatic arthritis have damage that doctors can easily see on images of the joints 2 years after diagnosis.2

Scientists are learning more about psoriatic arthritis and who is likely to develop this painful illness. They have found that certain signs and symptoms could raise your odds.

Skin lesions

One clue into psoriatic arthritis could lie with your skin. The results of a large study show that skin lesions from psoriasis often appear before joint symptoms. Researchers say 84 percent of people with psoriatic arthritis had skin lesions before diagnosis. They had these lesions for an average of 12 years before joint pain started.1

Since skin lesions come before joint symptoms, in many cases, doctors can spot people at risk for psoriatic arthritis before they develop joint damage that is beyond repair.

Severe psoriasis

Other studies have found that the more serious your psoriasis is, the more likely you are to develop psoriatic arthritis. Several things could raise your risk, including:1

  • Earlier age of diagnosis
  • Higher Psoriasis Area and Severity Index (PASI) and Dermatology Quality of Life Index (DLQI) scores
  • More hospital visits for psoriasis symptoms
  • More missed workdays due to psoriasis symptoms
  • More areas of your body affected by psoriasis

Family history

Experts know that if your parents or siblings have either psoriasis or psoriatic arthritis, your odds of developing these conditions also go up. But they are still studying the link between a family history of psoriasis and a higher risk of psoriatic arthritis. A couple of research studies have discovered a connection, but more information is needed.1

Psoriasis location

The location of your psoriasis could be a sign of whether you will also develop psoriatic arthritis.

Scalp

If psoriasis lesions appear on your scalp, you are 2 to 4 times more likely to get psoriatic arthritis, according to 1 study. Researchers think an overgrowth of bacteria on the scalp could trigger an immune reaction and lead to psoriatic arthritis.3

Nails

Several studies show a link between nail psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis. Around 70 to 75 percent of people with nail psoriasis were found to have psoriatic arthritis. Experts are still looking into the reasons behind the connection. One idea is that the area where your nails start to grow is near tendons in your finger bones. This area is at risk for inflammation and damage.1

As doctors learn more about the causes of psoriatic arthritis, including how it is related to psoriasis, it can help them spot overlooked signs of the disease for an earlier diagnosis.

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