Skin aging is a typical part of growing older. However, psoriasis is not. As we age, our skin loses the ability to protect itself which can sometimes result in psoriasis. Psoriasis is a skin condition where the surface layers of skin build up cells to create thick, rough patches of skin that somewhat resemble scales. While this condition can affect a person at any age, it tends to be chronic and can be even more uncomfortable for seniors, especially if it develops into psoriatic arthritis.
When patients over the age of 60 have a history of psoriasis and complain of joint pain, this could be an indication of elderly onset psoriatic arthritis. Around 30% of people who have psoriasis eventually develop psoriatic arthritis.
Psoriatic arthritis occurs when the body’s immune system starts attacking healthy cells and tissues. This abnormal immune response causes inflammation in joints and an overproduction of skin cells. Psoriatic arthritis causes nail discoloration, joint pain, and fatigue and can worsen over time if left untreated.
Although it is unclear why the immune system turns on healthy tissue, researchers believe that both genetic and environmental factors play into this. Many people diagnosed psoriatic arthritis have a family history of psoriasis or psoriatic arthritis. Specific genetic markers appear to be associated with psoriatic arthritis in particular. In addition, physical trauma or other environmental factors, such as a viral or bacterial infection, can trigger psoriatic arthritis in people with the inherited tendency.
There are number of symptoms associated with psoriatic arthritis. Some signs to look out for include:
There are several forms of this diseases which means not all of these symptoms must be present in order to be diagnosed with a type of psoriatic arthritis. Your doctor can do bloodwork to rule out rheumatoid arthritis, and take x-rays to see if there is joint damage indicating psoriatic arthritis.
One of the biggest concerns of psoriatic arthritis is joint damage. If left untreated, joint damage can be crippling. In addition to joint damage, psoriatic arthritis is associated with a greater risk of high blood pressure, high cholesterol, type 2 diabetes, and other cardiovascular diseases requiring chronic disease care. Treating psoriatic arthritis is crucial for a senior’s wellbeing.
Although there is no known cure for psoriatic arthritis, there are ways to make life more comfortable. Once diagnosed, your doctor will work with you to form a treatment plan. Treatment plans generally focus on weight management, stress management techniques, low-impact exercises, and eating a diet high in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains while avoiding fatty meats, sugar, and sodium. In addition, doctors recommend looking out for triggers such as weather changes or stressful situations that may result in flare-ups.
At Primary Care Physicians of Florida, our comprehensive internal medicine specialists excel at chronic disease care. With decades of combined training and practical experience our medical professionals are experts at diagnosing and treating the illnesses that ail you. We have doctors who accept Humana and CarePlus on staff, as well as others who are on the list of Medicaid healthcare providers.
Some of the other insurances we carry at Primary Care Physicians of Florida are (but not limited to): Preferred Care Partners, Blue Cross Blue Shield, UnitedHealthcare, Coventry, and Cigna. Please contact us for more information about the insurance plans we accept.
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