PSORIASIS and COMORBIDITIES – PSORIATIC ARTHRITIS

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WHAT IS COMORBIDITY?

 Comorbidity is a concurrence of multiple diseases or disorders in association with a given disease, in this case, psoriasis.

 INCREASED RISK

 The patient with psoriasis has an increased risk of developing one or more of a number of other diseases/conditions that share many immunological features with psoriasis.

Psoriatic Arthritis

Spondyloarthropathies

CHART 1: Comorbidities Associated with Psoriasis 1,2,3

Psoriatic arthritis (PsA) is an inflammatory arthropathy, which is associated with psoriasis in approximately 25% of patients. It is characterized by stiffness, pain, swelling, and tenderness of the joints as well as the surrounding ligaments and tendons. It affects men and women equally and typically presents at the age of 30 to 50 years. Skin lesions usually precedes the onset of PsA by an average of 10 years in the majority of patients but 14– 21% of patients with PsA develop symptoms of arthritis prior to the development of skin lesions.4

human_hand_bones-en The Foot

                  The Hand                                                                                             The Foot

The presentation of PsA is variable and can range from a mild, non-destructive arthritis to a severe, debilitating, erosive arthropathy.

There are various classifications for PsA:-

• Monoarthritis of the large joints – inflammation and arthritis in one joint.

PsN 1 Finger

          Swelling evident in the joint between the Intermediate and Proximal Phalanges in the index finger

  • Distal interphalangeal arthritis – affecting the joint between the Distal and Proximal phalanges.
  • Spondyloarthritis – affecting the spine and, in some people, the joints of the arms and legs.

Symmetrical deforming polyarthropathy – similar to that of rheumatoid arthritis

PsN all Distal Joints

Deformity of the Distal interphalangeal joints with varying degrees of severity seen across all of the fingers from severe to mild.

If PsA is left untreated, a percentage of patients may develop chronic inflammation with progressive deforming joint damage which leads to severe physical limitations and disability. So it is very important for a patient with psoriasis who is experiencing joint swelling or pain to be reviewed by a Rheumatologist as soon as possible. However, as there is no specific test for PsA, the diagnosis of PsA is based on clinical judgement. The main aspect is the absence of rheumatoid factor (91-94%), this key finding together with the specific presentation of joint pain and inflammation plus the presence of psoriasis skin lesions all combine to lead the Practitioner and the Rheumatologist to diagnose PsA. X-rays may aid diagnosis and can show the extent and location of joint damage. Other types of scans such as MRI or CT scans can also be used to look at the joints in more detail.

In many patients articular patterns change or overlap in time. Enthesitis, inflammation at the sites where tendons or ligaments insert into the bone, may occur at any site, but more commonly at the insertion sites of the plantar fascia (the fibrous band of tissue (fascia) connecting the heel bone to the base of the toe bones), the Achilles tendons, and ligamentous attachments to the ribs, spine, and pelvis. PsA is unusual in that it can affect joints on only one finger or toe, several joint on one side or on affect joints on both sides of the body. PsA symptoms often resemble those of rheumatoid arthritis. Both diseases cause the joints to become inflammed, painful, swollen and warm to the touch.4

The most common symptoms are:-

  • Swollen fingers and/or toes.  PsA can cause a painful, sausage-like swelling of the fingers and/or toes. Swelling and deformities in the hands and feet before having significant joint symptoms may occur.

  • Foot pain. Psoriatic arthritis can also cause pain at the points where tendons and ligaments attach to the bones — especially at the back of the heel or in the sole of the foot.
  • Lower back pain.Some sufferers develop a condition called spondylitis as a result of PsA which causes inflammation of the joints between the vertebrae of the spine and in the joints between your spine and pelvis (sacroiliitis).

Skin lesions in patients with PsA and psoriasis may vary from a mild to a severe presentation and the skin activity is commonly not indicative of the severity of the arthritis symptoms. It is important to note that skin lesions and symptoms normally precede arthritic signs and symptoms in 80% of psoriatic arthritis patients. Whilst simultaneous onset of arthritic and psoriatic symptoms will occur in approximately 13% of patients, only 3% of patients will have joint involvement preceding the development of skin lesions.5

People with PsA often experience pain, stiff joints and muscle weakness and often this is due to lack of use so a regime of light exercise is very important to improve overall health and to keep the joints as flexible as possible. It may be of benefit for people with PsA to consult with an exercise physiologist / remedial therapist who can give advice as the most suitable exercises that are patient specific, including how to get started safely, so that the potential to aggravate the joints are kept to a minimum.

Some of the types of exercise that should be discussed with your physiologist / therapist are:-

  • Aerobic exercises – walking, swimming or gentle water aerobics
  • Muscle-strengthening exercises – light weights
  • Muscle-stretching exercises
  • Hydrotherapy – supervised structured exercises of specific extremities and joints in warm water.

Use of Assistive Devices

An assistive device is a tool or implement that makes a particular function or action easier or possible to perform, e.g.:-

Clothing Aids

  • Velcro on clothes and shoes or elastic shoelaces.
  • Button and zipper hooks.
  • Leg-Up Leg Lifter allows users with limited mobility to avoid having to bend down or hold onto clothing to lift their leg.
  • Long handled shoe horns.

Grooming Aides

  • Fit Combs, brushes and toothbrushes with easier-to-hold handles for ease of use.
  • Or use Long handled brushes and combs that have anti-slip handles.
  • Use a toothpaste dispenser that automatically dispenses a set amount of toothpaste onto a brush.

Bathing and Showering Aides

  • Use a long handled hair washer that can be used to apply shampoo and massage the user’s scalp while reducing strain on the hands, shoulders, or arms.
  • Long handled foot wash brush to assist people with limited access to their feet.
  • Long handled sponge or cloth body washers.
  • Long handled lotion or ointment applicators.

Cooking and Cleaning Aides

  • Finger loop utensils.
  • Oven knob turner.
  • Cut resistance gloves and Finger protector (slicing) guard.
  • Easy glide plastic bag opener.
  • Jar “pop” openers.
  • Tin pull top openers.

Walking Aides

  • Walkers, canes, knee and ankle braces.

Remember there are many websites available where you can purchase any number of assistive devices.

It is important not to lock oneself away and use immobility as an excuse not to socialize. Use group exercise classes to not only improve one’s fitness and mobility but also use the opportunity to talk to other class member’s, or join a support group ….. just the act of talking and sharing can be enough to ensure that you do not become depressed.

 

 

REFERENCES

  • Arzu K?l?ç, Seray Cakmak; PSORIASIS AND COMORBIDITIES; EMJ Dermatol. 2013;1:78-85.
  • Howa Yeung et al.;Psoriasis Severity and the Prevalence of Major Medical Comorbidity – A Population-Based Study; JAMA Dermatol. 2013;149(10):1173-1179. doi:10.1001/jamadermatol.2013.5015
  • Aurangabadkar SJ. Comorbidities in psoriasis. Indian J Dermatol Venereol Leprol 2013;79, Suppl S1:10-7
  • Lloyd P. et al.; Psoriatic Arthritis: An Update; Hindawi Publishing Corporation Arthritis Volume 2012, Article ID 176298, 6 pages doi:10.1155/2012/176298
  • Gottlieb A.B. et al.; Clinical characteristics of psoriatic arthritis and psoriasis in dermatologists’ offices; Journal of Dermatological Treatment. 2006; 17: 279–287

 

 

PSORIASIS – Severity and Types

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Psoriasis is one of the most common immune-mediated diseases world-wide. It is a chronic condition that waxes and wanes. Importantly it is not contagious but it can be an extremely painful, disfiguring and disabling condition for which there is no cure.

The exact causes of psoriasis have yet to be determined, however impairment of the immune system and genetics are known to play major roles in its development. When the immune system is somehow triggered it speeds up the growth cycle of skin cells among other immune reactions leading to a thickening of the skin, inflammation and excessive scaling.1

The prevalence of psoriasis in different populations varies between 0 and 12%, with estimates between 2 – 3% in most western populations. The prevalence in the northern most regions of the Russia and Norway ranges between 5–10% of the population and the highest 12% prevalence is found in the arctic population.2  In the U.S., prevalence ranges from 2.2% to 3.15% and the prevalence among African Americans is 1.3%. There is a low prevalence among North American Indians, Asians and Western Africans (0.3%). In Japan it is 0.1-0.2% of the population, in China 0.3% and is virtually undetected in Native South American Indians.3, 4, 5 Estimates of the prevalence of psoriasis in Australia ranges from 2.3% to 6.6% and in the U.K., the range was 1.3% to 2.6%.4,6  In Australia in the indigenous population it  occur rarely, with two recent Australian studies reporting small numbers of Indigenous patients in both the urban and rural environment presenting with psoriasis.7

What triggers psoriasis is a complex question and a large number of factors are involved. Genes are important: numerous family studies have provided compelling evidence of a genetic predisposition to psoriasis, although the inheritance pattern remains unclear. The condition will develop in up to 50% of the siblings of persons with psoriasis when both parents are affected, but prevalence falls to 16% when only one parent has psoriasis and falls further to only 8% percent if neither parent is affected.8 Environmental risk factors also play a role: bacterial and viral infections, stress, skin trauma, smoking and obesity have all been associated with the onset and exacerbation of psoriasis.9

The classification of severity is based on several dermatological markers. It often is a combination of a PASI (Psoriasis Area and Severity Index) score and a BSA (Body Surface Area) coverage factor.

A PASI score is used by dermatologist to measure the dermatological markers to determine the severity and extent of psoriasis, especially during a clinical trial. Four body areas, the head, the arms, the torso and the legs, are measured according to redness (erythema), thickness (Induration/Infiltration) and scaling (Desquamation) from 0 to 4. (See Chart)

% coverage of the body affected is also involved in the classification of the severity of psoriasis. The classification of mild psoriasis is made when symptoms affect less than 3% of the body surface. Moderate psoriasis covers 3% – 10% and the classification of severe indicates that symptoms affects more than 10% of the body, also the involvement of the hands, feet, facial, or genital regions, by which, despite involvement of a smaller BSA, the disease may interfere significantly with activities of daily life. This of course does not take into account the emotional impact that the condition has on the sufferer.9

Absent MildModerateSevereVery Severe
Redness / Erythemasevere_1

None


Score 1
severe_3
Score 2
severe_4

Score 3

Sev_1
Score 4
Thickness/

Hyperkeratosis

sev_2
None
sev_3
Score 1
Sev_4
Score 2
Sev_5
Score 3
Sev_6
Score 4
Scaling/DesquamationSev_7
None
Sev_8
Score 1
Sev_9
Score 2
Sev_10
Score 3
Sev_11

Score 4

Sev_12

Psoriasis can have a devastating impact on psychological well-being and social functioning, similar to that of cancer, arthritis, hypertension, heart disease, diabetes or depression. Most people with psoriasis suffer feelings of stigmatization because of their highly visible symptoms. This leads to feelings of social discrimination and alienation which compounds the feelings of anxiety and depression.9

Almost 90% of psoriasis sufferers have feelings of shame and embarrassment, 62% feel depressed, 58% suffer from anxiety, 44% feel that they have problems at work with most feeling that they are rejected for promotions, not accepted as part of the work group etc., 42% suffer from a lack of self-confidence due to their self-consciousness and 40% have difficulties in sexual relationships.10 

TYPES OF PSORIASIS

Psoriasis has been classified into several different types10, depending upon presentation, including:-

  • Plaque psoriasis or Psoriasis vulgaris (common type) – comprises approximately 90 percent of cases. Characterized by sharply demarcated erythematous silvery scaling plaques which most commonly occur on the extensor surface of the elbows, knees, scalp, sacral, and groin regions. The lesions are well-defined round or oval plaques that differ in size and in chronic plaque psoriasis that often coalesce to form very large, oddly shaped lesions covering large areas of the body.  Other involved areas include the ears, glans penis, perianal region, and sites of repeated trauma.
  • Scalp psoriasis is plaque psoriasis that is confined to the scalp, nape, forehead, sideburns, ears) the scalp lesions rarely extend > 2 cm beyond the hairline. Compared with plaque psoriasis elsewhere on the body, scalp involvement is frequently asymmetrical.
  • Guttate psoriasis – numerous small, red or salmon pink, drop-like spots which cover a large portion of the skin. Spots have fine, slivery scale. Lesions are usually located on the trunk, arms and legs. Usually proceeded by a bacterial streptococcal infection (strep throat, chronic tonsillitis) or a viral respiratory infection.
  • Flexural/intertriginous (Inverse psoriasis) – is located in the skin folds: i.e. armpits, under the breasts, skin folds around the groin and between the buttocks and in the skin fold of the obese. It is particularly subject to irritation from rubbing and sweating because of its location in the skin folds and tender areas. The plaques are thin, have minimal scale and a shiny surface commonly accompanied by secondary fissuring and/or maceration (the softening and breaking down of skin resulting from prolonged exposure to moisture). It is also prone to secondary infections such as tinea and candida.
  • Palmoplantar psoriasis – presenting as hyperkeratotic (thickened), red or yellowish, scaly plaques on the central palm or weight-bearing areas of the soles. The lesions are well demarcated and often accompanied by painful cracking and fissuring.
  • Palmoplantar pustulosis (PPP): is characterized by hyperkeratosis and clusters of pustules over the palms, and soles of hands and/or feet. These sterile pustules can remain as discrete pustules or may become confluent, producing lakes of pus which dry out, and the skin subsequently peels off, leaving a glazed, smooth erythematous surface. Quite often new crops of pustules will then appear.
  • Pustular psoriasis or Generalized Pustular psoriasis (von Zumbusch type) – Pustular psoriasis may be localized clusters of pinhead sized sterile pustules or as in the Generalized presentation – the skin becomes very red and tender and within hours, pinhead-sized pustules appear studding the erythematous back? These painful, sterile pustules may become confluent, producing lakes of pus. Subsequently, the pustules dry out, and the skin peels off, leaving a glazed, smooth erythematous surface on which new crops of pustules may appear. This is usually accompanied by a fever and systemic symptoms e.g. nausea, and may require the patient to be hospitalized.
  • Erythrodermic psoriasis – characterized by erythema, severe scaling, itching, and pain. This unstable psoriasis may some? times evolve to whole-body involvement that can lead to the inability to maintain homeostatic functions and often requires the patient to be hospitalized.
  • Nail psoriasis – affecting the nails of the fingers and/or toes, may affect only one or several nails. The most frequent signs of nail psoriasis are pitting and distal onycholysis. Clinical manifestations range from pitting, yellowish discoloration, and paronychia, to subungual hyperkeratosis, onycholysis, and severe onychodystrophy.
  • Psoriatic arthritis (PsA) a chronic inflammatory joint disease occurs in up to 39 % of patients with psoriasis. This type of arthritis can be slow to develop, with only mild symptoms or it can develop rapidly with extreme pain and characterized by focal bone erosions. PsA can be a severe form of arthritis with prognosis similar to that of rheumatoid arthritis

For more information on each classification of psoriasis refer to posts on each individual type.

REFERENCES

  • Višnja Milavec-Pureti?  et al.; Drug Induced Psoriasis; Acta Dermatovenerol Croat 2011;19(1):39-42
  • Bhalerao A., Bowcock A. M. ; The Genetics of Psoriasis: A Complex Disorder of the Skin and Immune System; Mol. Genet. (1998) 7 (10): 1537-1545 doi:10.1093/hmg/7.10.1537
  • Kuchekar A.B. et al.; Psoriasis: A comprehensive review; Int. J. of Pharm. & Life Sci. (IJPLS), Vol. 2, Issue 6: June: 2011, 857-877 857
  • Parisi R et al. Global epidemiology of psoriasis: A systemic review of incidence and prevalence. J Invest Dermatol 2012 Sep 27; [e-pub ahead of print]. (http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/jid.2012.339)
  • Menter A., Stoff B.; Psoriasis – Chapter 1 History, Epidemiology and Pathogenesis; 2010; Manson Publishing UK.
  • Parisi R. et al. Global Epidemiology of Psoriasis; Journal of Investigative Dermatology (2013), Volume 133
  • Heyes C. et al.; Non-infectious skin disease in Indigenous Australians; Australasian Journal of Dermatology (2014) 55, 176–184
  • Farber, E.M., Nall, L. and Watson, W. (1974) Natural history of psoriasis in 61 twin pairs. Arch. Dermatol., 109, 207–211.
  • Pelle Stolt, Maglia Rotta; Bringing Psoriasis into the Light; International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers & Associations; http://www.ifpma.org/fileadmin/content/Publication/2014/Psoriasis_Publication-Web.pdf
  • https://www.statista.com/statistics/409255/psoriasis-impact-on-individuals-physical-and-social-functioning/
  • Zangeneh F.Z., Shooshtary F.S.; Psoriasis — Types, Causes and Medication – Chapter 1; http://cdn.intechopen.com/pdfs-wm/44173.pdf