I suppose it's time.
I've been putting off writing about my latest autoimmune acquisition - psoriatic arthrits. I really don't like to even acknowledge that I have another AD in my collection, but it appears that this one will be around for awhile, so here goes.
Allrighty, then. Let's get started. So I went to my rheumatologist because my fingers looked like this:
Yep, the pictures are of poor quality, but it's pretty hard to take a picture of your right hand when the button for the shutter is on the right side of a bulky camera.
So you may be able to tell that the very end joints of my fingers, the distal interphalangeal joints, or DIP joints, are swollen, red, hot and hurt like heck.
Stupid DIP joints.
It turns out that different types of arthritis typically have an affinity for certain joints, and psoriatic arthritis often begins in the DIPs.
Image found here.
After re-checking some of my labs, doing x-rays, and examining my joints, Dr. K. gave me a diagnosis of psoriatic arthritis. I hadn't heard of it before, so I asked him for a thorough explanation. He basically told me that PA has some characteristic symptoms: it usually occurs in a patient that has a negative RA factor, (I am negative), which is commonly positive in rheumatoid arthritis; it occurs frequently in the DIP joints; and may or may not occur with psoriasis. I have had splotch and blob and rash issues for years, but Dr. K. thinks that they could have been caused by a number of causes.
The x-rays - mine included - show a specific pattern of joint erosion in psoriatic arthritis:
Image found here.
Stupid bone erosions.
Other fun facts about PA: It can occur in any joint. It's cause is unknown - similar to most autoimmune diseases. However, heredity plays a major factor in most instances. Other suspected causes include abnormal immune response to infections or injuries. PA also can cause tendons and ligaments to become inflamed where they attach to bones. This is called enthesitis and is especially common in the heels, which is also a problem for me.
You can read more about stupid psoriatic arthritis on the Mayo Clinic site, here.