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Psoriatic Arthritis

Arthritis is something old people get, right?  I wish!  Many old people have arthritis, but so do some young people, there are different types. All arthritis causes painful stiff joints. The one most people think of is osteoarthritis which you tend to get as you age.  The other one most people have heard of is rheumatoid arthritis (RA), it tends to affect younger people and can be very severe.  Few people have heard of psoriatic arthritis (PA).  Psoriasis is a skin disease, you get red itchy circles (or plaques) of skin that flake off. You tend to get it on your elbows and knees, although you can get it anywhere on your body. Psoriasis isn’t contagious.  You can’t catch it from someone.

About 10-20% of people with this flaky skin develop problems with their joints. I am one of them.  As I type this the 4th (ring) finger of my hand is swollen and a bit sore. At last, an excuse for my typos! The pinky finger on my right hand is going the same way. I’m left handed so this doesn’t bother my as much as you might think, but I’m starting to feel the same thing happening in the middle finger of my left hand and I’m not too chuffed about that.

My hands have been sore for about 6 months now. My GP has X-rayed my right hand and I’m waiting on the results. I don’t think the X-rays will show much, it can take years for the damage from psoriatic arthritis to show on X-rays, but I just need to be patient and wait for the results (not one of my strong points).

I’m also waiting on the result of some blood tests.  6 months ago, my GP test me for RF (Rheumatoid Factor), RF shows up in about 80% of people with rheumatoid arthritis, fortunately that was negative, which means I probably have psoriatic arthritis and not rheumatoid arthritis.  My GP has repeated that test and they are also checking the levels of the “inflammatory marker” CRP in my blood.

My GP seems to be quite through, he also ordered a full blood count, 6 months ago this showed I was anaemic so I’ll be interested to see if that’s still the case or if all the black pudding and spatone water I’ve been having have upped my iron levels. Apparently anaemia is not uncommon in people with inflammatory arthritis (both PA an RA are types of inflammatory arthritis) and it doesn’t always respond to iron tablets.

Hopefully in a week or two I’ll know what the results of these test are. There is not a specific test for psoriatic arthritis. I wish they would find one!  In fact, I wish I knew some lab somewhere was even trying to find one!

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Categories: Psoriatic Arthritis Tags: ,