Psoriatic arthritis is a type of inflammation that occurs in about 15% of patients with a skin rash called psoriasis – a condition that features red patches of skin topped with silvery scales. Most people develop psoriasis first and are later diagnosed with psoriatic arthritis, but joint problems can sometimes begin before skin lesions appear. Joint pain, stiffness and swelling are the main symptoms. They can affect any part of your body, including fingertips and spine, and can range from mild to severe. In both psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis, disease flares may alternate with periods of remission.
Early diagnosis and treatment in PsA prevents joint damage and decreases risk for cancer and heart disease, including heart attack. Because there is no specific blood test to diagnose PsA, Dr. Arnold uses innovative tools and tests to understand each patient’s inflammation level and monitor response to treatments. These include:
- A comprehensive interview with our staff including:
- Joint counts;
- MD-HAQ/Rapid 3 questionnaires the best-validated ways to document symptoms and monitor response to therapy.
- Sophisticated laboratory testing and imaging to diagnose, treat, monitor and predict arthritis symptoms including:
- ESR/CRP or Vectra-DA: laboratory tests that measure inflammation created by the immune system and help assess disease activity.
- Ultrasound Imaging – Xrays are not able to show synovial tissue which produces swelling, stiffness, pain and destruction in patients with inflammatory arthritis. Ultrasound is the ideal way to see this tissue, detect bone destruction and determine severity of inflammation. It can also monitor response to therapy. In AS, ultrasound can also detect enthesitis (inflammation at the site of tendon insertion on bones).
- MRI Imaging of the Spine and Sacroiliac Joints- Xrays are not able to show inflammation in the bone. MRI is the ideal way to show inflammation in the spine.