- MEDICAL CONDITION
Psoriatic arthritis is a form of arthritis (joint inflammation) that can occur in people who have the skin disease psoriasis. Psoriasis is a common condition characterized by scaly red and white skin patches. Psoriatic arthritis can affect any joint in the body, including the spine.
Anyone can be affected by psoriatic arthritis, but it is more common in Caucasians than African Americans or Asian Americans. It most commonly appears between the ages of 30 and 50, but it can also begin in childhood. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 10 to 20 percent of people with psoriasis eventually develop psoriatic arthritis. Typically, skin disease precedes the arthritis, sometimes by several years. However, in some cases, arthritic symptoms appear first.
The cause of psoriatic arthritis is not known; however, doctors believe a combination of genetic and environmental factors is involved. Research shows that people with psoriatic arthritis often have a family member with psoriasis or arthritis. In people who are susceptible, an infection may activate the immune system, triggering the development of psoriatic arthritis.