Monday, February 28, 2011

Psoriatic Arthritis

I suppose it's time.

I've been putting off writing about my latest autoimmune acquisition - psoriatic arthrits. I really don't like to even acknowledge that I have another AD in my collection, but it appears that this one will be around for awhile, so here goes.

Allrighty, then. Let's get started. So I went to my rheumatologist because my fingers looked like this:

Yep, the pictures are of poor quality, but it's pretty hard to take a picture of your right hand when the button for the shutter is on the right side of a bulky camera.

Stupid camera.

So you may be able to tell that the very end joints of my fingers, the distal interphalangeal joints, or DIP joints, are swollen, red, hot and hurt like heck.

Stupid DIP joints.

It turns out that different types of arthritis typically have an affinity for certain joints, and psoriatic arthritis often begins in the DIPs.

Image found here.

After re-checking some of my labs, doing x-rays, and examining my joints, Dr. K. gave me a diagnosis of psoriatic arthritis. I hadn't heard of it before, so I asked him for a thorough explanation. He basically told me that PA has some characteristic symptoms: it usually occurs in a patient that has a negative RA factor, (I am negative), which is commonly positive in rheumatoid arthritis; it occurs frequently in the DIP joints; and may or may not occur with  psoriasis. I have had splotch and blob and rash issues for years, but Dr. K. thinks that they could have been caused by a number of causes.

The x-rays - mine included - show a specific pattern of joint erosion in psoriatic arthritis:
Image found here.

Stupid bone erosions.

Other fun facts about PA: It can occur in any joint. It's cause is unknown - similar to most autoimmune diseases. However, heredity plays a major factor in most instances. Other suspected causes include abnormal immune response to infections or injuries. PA also can cause tendons and ligaments to become inflamed where they attach to bones. This is called enthesitis and is especially common in the heels, which is also a problem for me.

Stupid enthesitis.

You can read more about stupid psoriatic arthritis on the Mayo Clinic site, here.


Michelle said...

I just came home from seeing my Rheumatologist, and she thinks I may have this as well as Sjogrens. Drat!!! Do you know of any blogs or great news forums regarding Psoriatic Arthritis? I'm looking for info.

Julia Oleinik said...

Hi Michelle -- fortunately for me, my PA has been pretty quiet for awhile, so I haven't written much about it. I will be on the lookout for forums and other blogs, and if I see something, I'll pass it along. Sorry to hear about your new DX..... Sjogren's all by itself is plenty.

Wright Hip Recall said...

Greetings! Very useful advice in this particular post about Psoriatic Arthritis! That is the type of info that are meant to be shared around the web.

Unknown said...

I just developed a small bump on my index finger ... First joint .. Sore to touch..???