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How does a health care professional diagnose psoriatic arthritis?

Psoriatic arthritis is a diagnosis made mainly on clinical grounds, based on the finding of psoriasis and the typical inflammatory arthritis of the spine and/or other joints. There is no laboratory test to diagnose psoriatic arthritis. Blood tests such as sedimentation rate may show an abnormal elevated result and merely reflect presence of inflammation in the joints and other organs of the body. Other blood tests, such as rheumatoid factor, are obtained to exclude rheumatoid arthritis. When one or two large joints (such a knees) are inflamed, arthrocentesis can be performed. Arthrocentesis is an office procedure whereby a sterile needle is used to withdraw (aspirate) fluid from the inflamed joints. The fluid is then analyzed for inflammation, infection, gout crystals, and other inflammatory conditions. X-rays may show changes of cartilage or bone injury indicative of arthritis of the spine, sacroiliac joints, and/or joints of the hands. Typical X-ray findings include bony erosions resulting from arthritis, but these may not be present in early disease. MRI scanning is sometimes used to identify early erosion of joints. The blood test for the genetic marker HLA-B27, mentioned above, is often performed. This marker can be found in over 50% of patients with psoriatic arthritis who have spine inflammation.

Return to Psoriatic Arthritis

See what others are saying

Comment from: cherokee, 25-34 Female (Patient) Published: July 21

With enlarged prostate I have trouble starting to urinate; it stops and goes. I am going a lot in small amounts.

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Comment from: Theresa, 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: February 26

I was diagnosed with psoriatic arthritis aged 33. I had had my right knee swell up red hot out of the blue. I ignored it and it went away in a week. Then a month later my toes on my left foot started swelling (sausage toes). Every morning another one had swollen. I saw my general physician who immediately sent me to a rheumatologist thinking it was rheumatoid arthritis. It turns out its psoriatic arthritis. I only have a small patch of psoriasis on my scalp which I didn't know about. I tried sulfasalazine but I had a bad reaction to it. I wasn't given anything else. They are watching and waiting. No more sweet till this year (2 years later) and still no medicines. Now I am going to ask for something as my left foot is in a lot of pain! I also have fibromyalgia diagnosed a year ago and an underactive thyroid diagnosed in late twenties. No one in my family have either conditions or psoriasis but autoimmune issues run in my family.

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Comment from: sloshie420, 19-24 Female (Patient) Published: February 20

I have fibromyalgia and psoriatic arthritis I'm now 32 and married for 7 years and have a 7 year old son. I have had this for about 5 years now, for the first 3 years I did not have health insurance, I lived on my couch in the worst pain you could imagine. I couldn't keep up with the house work, yard work, dinner, and needing help taking care of our son. My mom lives with us and she worked and took care of me and my son throughout all of this. When I was finally able to afford health insurance I went to a doctor. He was no help and I went to a second. Within 10 min he knew I had psoriatic arthritis and sent me to my first arthritis doctor and he diagnosed me with fibromyalgia. After a year and many drugs later I got another opinion and he diagnosed me with both. I take a load of pills a day and Humira, and have had many trips to the emergency room for migraines. I know how lucky I am to find my doctor who listened to me, just want to say don't give up, keep changing doctors; you are not crazy! Your pain is real and don't let them tell you otherwise. I pull my strength and hope from these kind of sites. You are the only ones who know how it is.

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