Do I Have Psoriatic Arthritis? Diagnosing Psoriatic Arthritis
Diagnosing psoriatic arthritis

Diagnosing psoriatic arthritis can be challenging. That’s because many of the symptoms of psoriatic arthritis are similar to other autoimmune diseases, including rheumatoid arthritis or psoriasis.  

Psoriatic arthritis (PsA) is an autoimmune disease that causes joint inflammation and damage. There is not a single test to diagnose psoriatic arthritis. Instead, your Summit Rheumatology specialist will conduct an exam and order labs or imaging to make a diagnosis.  

If you think you may have psoriatic arthritis in Arizona and Oklahoma, here’s what you should know before you visit a rheumatologist. 

When You Should See a Rheumatologist for Psoriatic Arthritis

Symptoms of psoriatic arthritis differ from person to person. If you are experiencing any of the following symptoms, it may be time to contact a psoriatic arthritis doctor near you: 

  • Red, flaky patches of skin, especially on the fingers, elbows, knees, or scalp 
  • Nail pitting 
  • Joint pain or swelling 
  • Fatigue 
  • Low-grade fever 
  • Eye inflammation 
  • Back pain 

Diagnosing Psoriatic Arthritis Versus Psoriasis

About 1 in 3 individuals diagnosed with psoriasis are also diagnosed with psoriatic arthritis. However, these diseases are not the same. Psoriasis differs from psoriatic arthritis and is largely associated with skin abnormalities. These patches of itchy, scaly skin often appear in the following locations: 

  • Hands and feet 
  • Elbows 
  • Eyelids 
  • Scalp 
  • Ears 
  • Nails 

Psoriatic arthritis typically involves skin irritation and joint inflammation. Joint pain or discomfort can occur in joints throughout the body. This joint pain doesn’t always develop in the same areas as the patches of red, itchy, or flaky skin.  

Psoriatic arthritis often develops about 10 years after psoriasis develops (psoriasis.org). However, it is possible to be diagnosed with psoriatic arthritis without an existing psoriasis diagnosis.   

Diagnosing Psoriatic Arthritis: What to Look For

Untitled design 2024 05 06T154922.849 One of the main features of psoriatic arthritis is patches of red, flaky, inflamed skin. Known as plaques, these patches of skin vary in size and location.
Untitled design 2024 05 06T155620.626 Nail pitting is also a common with psoriatic arthritis. You may notice a concave dip in your nail bed, yellowing, or flaky nails. 
Untitled design 2024 05 06T160544.333 Occasionally, psoriatic arthritis may develop with joint inflammation as the main symptom. This can make joints, especially those around your fingers, and toes, appear swollen or red. 

 

Psoriatic Arthritis Diagnosis: Evaluation and Tests

Your psoriatic arthritis doctor (usually a rheumatologist) will conduct a physical examination. These examinations look for signs of psoriatic arthritis. However, lab tests and imaging are often required to form a diagnosis. 

Your rheumatologist may examine your joints for signs of tenderness, swelling, or redness. They may also look for signs of skin plaques or pitting on the nail bed. Your psoriasis specialist may ask you to perform a range of motion test to measure the performance of your joints and tendons.  

Additional testing for diagnosing psoriatic arthritis may include one or multiple of the following: 

  • Blood work or urine samples to measure inflammatory markers 
  • Imaging (including x-rays, ultrasounds, CT scans, or MRIs) to visualize the joints or identify inflammation or joint damage 
  • Skin biopsies can be used to rule out other causes of flaky, inflamed skin 

During your visit, your psoriatic arthritis specialist will also ask you about your family history, including family members with certain medical conditions.  

Our psoriatic arthritis specialists in Oklahoma and Arizona will answer any questions and help you schedule any ordered labs or tests. Once these labs are complete, you will have a follow-up visit to discuss the results and next steps. 

If you’re looking for a psoriatic arthritis doctor near you, Summit Rheumatology is currently accepting new patients for psoriatic arthritis treatment in Arizona and Oklahoma. 

Contact a member of our team to schedule your appointment for psoriatic arthritis. We have rheumatology clinics in Edmond, Oklahoma and Gilbert and Casa Grande, Arizona.

Oklahoma Contact Information

Phone

Edmond: (405) 260-8605

Fax

(405) 369-9310

Arizona Contact Information

Phone

Gilbert: (480) 494-2770
Casa Grande: (520) 557-5660

Fax

(480) 494-2771

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