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Psoriatic arthritis: Causes


Who gets psoriatic arthritis?

Most people who get psoriatic arthritis have one or more of the following:

  • Psoriasis (plaque, guttate, or pustular)

  • Psoriasis that affects their nails

  • Blood relatives who have psoriatic arthritis

Psoriatic arthritis usually appears about 5 to 12 years after psoriasis begins. It is equally common in men and women. Most people develop it between 30 and 50 years of age. But psoriatic arthritis can begin at any age. Children may even get psoriatic arthritis.

It is important to know that not everyone who gets psoriasis will eventually develop psoriatic arthritis. There is no way to tell who will get psoriatic arthritis. You should tell your dermatologist if you have joint pain or stiffness when you wake up, or swollen joints that come and go. These are often the earliest symptoms.

What causes psoriatic arthritis?

We still do not know everything that happens inside the body to cause psoriatic arthritis. We know that like psoriasis, psoriatic arthritis is an autoimmune disease. When a person has an autoimmune disease, the body mistakes something inside as a foreign object. In the case of psoriatic arthritis, the body mistakes joints and tendons as foreign. 

Like psoriasis, psoriatic arthritis also involves your:

  • Genes

  • Environment

  • Immune system


All content solely developed by the American Academy of Dermatology.

Supported in part by Novartis.

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