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Dr Kristine (Pek Ling) Ng - Consultant Rheumatologist

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Psoriatic Arthritis (PsA)

Psoriatic Arthritis is an inflammatory arthritis that may cause joint pain and swelling, scaly patches on areas of skin and thickening/pitting of the finger nails. Psoriatic arthritis usually starts slowly and some people develop skin symptoms first while others see joint inflammation first. Joint tissue becomes inflamed leading to pain, swelling and stiffness. Over time, joint deformities may occur.

The cause is unknown but it likely that both genetic and environmental factors play a role. The diagnosis is made on the basis of your history and examination of your joints with supportive blood tests. Any joint can be affected by Psoriatic Arthritis; sometimes it is just one or two joints, but it can be more. Swelling of the fingers and toes can give a 'sausage like' appearance.

Treatment includes medications to relieve pain and inflammation. It also involves medication aiming at modifying the immune system to stop it from damaging the joints further. These groups of drugs include the Disease Modifying AntiRheumatic Drugs (DMARDs) and biologic medicines. Your specialist will discuss drug side effects and benefits with you so you can work out which medication will suit you best. For more information, see www.arthritis.org.nz

This page was last updated at 9:41AM on December 1, 2019.