Although you may not be aware, there are links to arthritis for both psoriasis and haemochromatosis. Not everyone that has psoriasis or haemochromatosis will develop arthritis. About 1 in 8 people with psoriasis also develop psoriatic arthritis. For Haemochromatosis, arthritis may develop when the Haemochromatosis is left untreated; about 1 in 4 people will experience joint damage.
Psoriasis & Psoriatic Arthritis
Psoriasis is a disease where your immune system mistakenly attacks your own skin, leading to red, scaly patches especially in the knees, elbows and scalp. About one in eight people with psoriasis also develop psoriatic arthritis, where the immune system targets the lining of the joints between your bones. Sometimes the arthritis appears before or at the same time as the psoriasis, but for most people the joint problems occur after the skin condition. While psoriatic arthritis tends to affect different people in different ways, early symptoms may include swelling, heat, tenderness, pain or stiffness in your joints. It affects men and women equally and can occur at any age.
Usually only people who have a psoriasis are affected by psoriatic arthritis.
What are the symptoms?
Psoriatic arthritis can affect any joint in the body and symptoms can vary from person to person. It can develop slowly with mild symptoms, or come on quickly and be severe. The most common symptoms are:
- pain, swelling and stiffness in one or more joints
- pain and stiffness in the buttocks, lower back or neck (also known as spondylitis, meaning inflammation of the spine)
- pain in tendons, such as at the back of the heel or sole of the foot (tendons are the strong cords that attach muscles onto bones)
- changes in nails, such as thickening, colour change or separation from the skin
- pain and redness in the eyes
Haemochromatosis is a condition caused by a build-up of iron in your body. People with haemochromatosis absorb too much iron from food (iron overload) and the extra iron can damage organs, particularly the liver, heart, pancreas, bones and joints.
What are the symptoms?
The symptoms of haemochromatosis can vary from person to person. Early haemochromatosis often has no symptoms. As iron slowly builds up in the body over many years, symptoms may begin to be noticed, usually after the age of 40.
- fatigue (tiredness)
- abdominal pain
- symptoms of diabetes
- joint pain and possibly joint swelling. This occurs most commonly in the joints of the fingers and hands. The wrists, elbows, hips, knees, ankles and joints in the feet can also be affected.
Over time, more serious complications and symptoms of untreated iron overload can occur. This can include liver damage, poor heart function, diabetes, joint damage (similar to osteoarthritis), loss of libido (sex drive) and osteoporosis (thinning of the bones). However not all people with haemochromatosis will experience these complications.
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