Psoriasis is characterized by reddish, scaly lesions that mainly affect the knees, elbows, and scalp, but lesions can appear anywhere on the body.
The word psora, from the Greek, means itching, pruritus, a frequent symptom in people with this condition.
While psoriasis is a skin disease that affects 2% of the population worldwide, psoriatic arthritis (which unites skin and joint manifestations) occurs in about 10% of psoriasis patients.
Psoriatic arthritis occurs in equal percentages in men and women, mostly in adulthood.
Generally, the skin involvement precedes or accompanies the joint involvement and their severity is unrelated.
The etiopathogenesis of psoriatic arthritis is multifactorial, and genetic, environmental and immunological factors act and interact for the onset of the disease.
It is believed that in a genetically predisposed individual, the presence of an environmental factor may act as a “trigger” to set off the immunological alterations that will give rise to the disease.
In most cases, the disease is multifactorial, involving the interaction between several genes with environmental triggers (infections, medications, antigenic stimuli, physical and/or emotional stress).
Psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis share the same environmental and psycho-affective triggers, but the neuro-immuno-endocrine mechanisms involved in this process still need to be clarified.
Untreated psoriatic arthritis can develop into irreversible deformities.
The choice of treatment will depend on the structures affected in each patient.
Axial (spinal column) and peripheral (arm and leg joints) as well joint involvement should be assessed.
Conventional treatment is initially done through the use of non-hormonal anti-inflammatory drugs and disease remission drugs.
In cases where there is no improvement with conventional treatment and moderate to severe cases, biologic agents may be necessary.
Exercises are part of the treatment for the disease and must be oriented and supervised by a qualified professional.
It is important to move the joint, even if it is swollen because prolonged rest can be harmful.
Physical activity is essential to prevent contractures, maintain range of motion, and reduce muscle weakness.