Psoriatic arthritis (PsA) is an inflammatory type of arthritis that affects the joints and skin. During this educational webinar, Alexis Ogdie, MD, a rheumatologist and epidemiologist at the University of Pennsylvania, and Jessica Walsh, MD, a rheumatologist at the University of Utah School of Medicine, explain what PsA is, how it fits into the spectrum of diseases called spondyloarthritis (SpA), how PsA is diagnosed, and who is affected by psoriatic arthritis. The webinar also provides an overview of other conditions associated with PsA and highlights the goals of PsA treatment, current treatment options, and new areas of research.
Fast Facts from the Webinar
1.Psoriatic arthritis (PsA) is a type of inflammatory arthritis that’s part of the spondyloarthritis (SpA) family of diseases.
Diagnosis of psoriatic arthritis may include a doctor’s asking about your skin, nails, joints and other symptoms. An important symptom of PsA is itchy and scaly patches on the skin, a condition called psoriasis. In fact, up to one third of people who already have psoriasis develop PsA. PsA can occur without psoriasis, but this is uncommon.
2. Besides psoriasis, PsA symptoms include inflammation in the joints, tendons, or spine.
Psoriatic arthritis has some unique features compared with other inflammatory arthritis such as rheumatoid arthritis. “Sausage digits” or dactylitis is when tendons that run along the fingers or toes become inflamed, causing pain and swelling between and around the joints. This occurs in only one or a few fingers or toes at a time. Enthesitis, also common among people with PsA and other SpA conditions, is when there is inflammation in the area where the ligaments and tendons attach to bones (entheses). The back or pelvis may also be affected in PsA. Nail deformities in the fingernails or toenails may occur and can include separation of nails from the nail bed, thickening of nails, pits, or holes in nails.
3. It is important to receive appropriate treatment for PsA as soon as getting diagnosed.
Early treatment is important to control PsA symptoms and prevent long-term damage. Treatment changes are also important if the disease is not well controlled.
4. PsA often occurs with many other conditions.
Other conditions and complications often associated with PsA include eye inflammation (uveitis or iritis), cardiovascular disease, fatigue, gut inflammation (inflammatory bowel disease), obesity, and depression. Impaired physical function, poor sleep, and emotional distress may also occur. Because PsA is a complex disease, it is important to use a combination of medication and other non-drug approaches to treat it. This includes physical therapy, weight management, exercise, and smoking cessation.
5. Obesity raises the risk factor of PsA.
Extra weight can also cause the medications to treat PsA to not work as well. Therefore, weight loss can be an important part of disease management.
The Patient Perspective
Here’s what patient participants said they learned from this webinar:
- “I learned that not every case [of PsA] presents in exactly the same way.” — Jodi A.
- “It is so difficult to explain PsA to people and this webinar was long enough, yet short enough, to get the key points across, which I can use to explain the disease to someone when they ask what it is. Thank you.” — Ronda H.
About the Presenter
Alexis Ogdie, MD, MSCE, University of Pennsylvania
Dr. Ogdie is a rheumatologist and epidemiologist at the University of Pennsylvania. The mission of her program is to improve outcomes in psoriatic arthritis through patient-centered research, to develop personalized medicine strategies for PsA, to develop appropriate outcome measures for PsA, and to improve the early identification of the disease. Dr. Ogdie is the founder and director of the Penn Psoriatic Arthritis and Spondyloarthritis program.
Jessica Walsh, MD, MBA, MSCI, University of Utah School of Medicine
Dr. Walsh is a rheumatologist and researcher dedicated to improving health for people with psoriatic arthritis and other types of spondyloarthritis. As the director of the Utah Spondyloarthritis program and the co-founder of the psoriatic arthritis research population, she has 12 years of experience caring for people with psoriatic disease. Her interest in research is in improving early disease recognition and treatments for people with psoriatic diseases. Dr. Walsh is on the faculty of the University of Utah School of Medicine.