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Treating Psoriatic Arthritis

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10 Symptoms Never to Ignore If You Have Psoriatic Arthritis

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  • Psoriatic arthritis is a type of arthritis that mostly affects people who have psoriasis. The most typical symptom of psoriasis is red patches of skin that can appear anywhere on the body, which can be painful and itchy. Psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis are both autoimmune disorders that cause inflammation throughout the body. This inflammation can cause other health problems too. Learn about some of the complications associated with psoriatic arthritis and which symptoms you should never ignore.

  • 1
    Changes in your nails
    Woman's nails with one damaged nail

    Most people who have psoriasis develop nail psoriasis. This form of psoriasis can occur on your either the fingers or toes. If you notice changes in your nails, such as thickening, pitting or yellowing, it’s important to get treatment as soon as possible to slow down the progression. Untreated nail psoriasis can result in them becoming unsightly as they thicken and discolor. They also may loosen, making it easier to injure yourself if the nail is pulled away from the nail bed.

  • 2
    Changes in your vision
    Asian American woman at computer pinching head between eyes

    The most common eye disorder caused by psoriatic arthritis and psoriasis is uveitis. It’s inflammation of a pigmented tissue layer inside your eye, called the uvea. Symptoms of uveitis include:

    • Blurry vision
    • Floating spots in your range of vision (floaters)
    • New or increasing sensitivity to light
    • Red eyes
    • Pain in your eyes

    Psoriatic arthritis can put you at higher risk for cataracts and glaucoma.

  • 3
    Signs and symptoms of a stroke
    Caucasian wife comforting unconscious husband in hospital

    The inflammation from psoriatic arthritis can increase your risk of atherosclerosis, which in turn can cause a stroke. Strokes usually come on very suddenly and can result in serious long-term disability or death if not recognized and treated quickly. It’s important that everyone know what to do if they suspect someone has had a stroke. They must think FAST:

    • F — Does one side of the face droop?
    • A — Can the person raise both arms together to the same height?
    • S — Can the person speak?
    • T — Time: call 911 immediately for treatment
  • 4
    Chest pain
    Older man experiencing chest pain

    Inflammation in people with psoriatic arthritis affects other organs too, including the heart and blood vessels. If you have high blood pressure—a strong risk factor for heart disease and heart attack—work with your doctor to control it. Be vigilant about signs and symptoms of a heart attack, and call 911 immediately if you experience any of the following symptoms. Not everyone has the same or all of the following symptoms, but these are the most common ones:

    • Blurry vision
    • Chest pain
    • Pain that radiates from your chest into your back, down your left arm or up into your jaw
    • Shortness of breath
    • Sudden sweating
    • Nausea, heartburn
    • Dizziness
    • A feeling of impending doom
  • 5
    Increasing urination and thirst
    Person filling cup of water from kitchen sink faucet

    Type 2 diabetes is another condition associated with psoriatic arthritis. Signs of diabetes include:

    • Increased thirst or hunger
    • Frequent need to urinate
    • Unintentional weight loss
    • Blurry vision
    • Slow-to-heal wounds
    • Frequent infections
  • 6
    Persistent sadness or other signs of depression
    Young African American man leaning on window looking stressed

    Depression is often associated with chronic illnesses like psoriatic arthritis. Some signs of depression include:

    • Losing interest in things you enjoy doing
    • Insomnia or sleeping too much
    • Restlessness
    • Feeling sad or bad about yourself and your life
    • Difficulty concentrating or remembering
  • 7
    Signs of infection
    Young Caucasian woman holding hand on head with fever or headache

    Medications for psoriatic arthritis may weaken or depress the immune system, making it easier to contract an infection. If you have signs or symptoms of an infection, particularly if you have recently had a cut or wound, an invasive medical procedure, or you have been around someone who is ill, you need a medical evaluation. Contact your doctor as soon as possible for these signs and symptoms:

    • Fever
    • Increased pain around a wound or unexplained pain in a specific part of your body
    • Redness around a wound
    • Pus or discharge from a wound
  • 8
    Changes in your joints, shortening of fingers or toes
    Older Caucasian woman's hands holding finger joints

    The most serious form of psoriatic arthritis is psoriatic arthritis mutilans. The joints in the digit become more difficult to move or straighten, and loose skin develops over the area as the digit shortens. This condition affects about 5% of people with psoriatic arthritis.

  • 9
    Diarrhea
    sign for public restroom

    Psoriatic arthritis is associated with Crohn’s disease, another autoimmune disease that causes gastrointestinal problems. Signs and symptoms of Crohn’s disease include:

    • Diarrhea with or without blood in the stool
    • Abdominal pain and cramping
    • Unexplained weight loss
    • Fatigue
    • Fever
  • 10
    Hearing loss
    Close up of man's ear with hearing aid

    Psoriatic arthritis inflammation can damage your inner ear causing hearing loss. Speak with your doctor if you are:

    • Turning up the volume on your devices to hear them more clearly
    • Asking people to speak louder
    • Finding it harder to follow conversations when there is background noise
    • Dizzy or losing your balance
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Medical Reviewer: William C. Lloyd III, MD, FACS
Last Review Date: 2020 Aug 16
View All Treating Psoriatic Arthritis Articles
THIS TOOL DOES NOT PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. It is intended for informational purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Never ignore professional medical advice in seeking treatment because of something you have read on the site. If you think you may have a medical emergency, immediately call your doctor or dial 911.