You may have heard of psoriasis, a skin condition that affects about 7.5 million people in the United States. Perhaps you’re even familiar with psoriatic arthritis, a kind of autoimmune disease that occurs in approximately 30 percent of people who have psoriasis. However, many people never hear about psoriatic arthritis mutilans (PsA mutilans) until it affects someone they care about. About 5 percent of people who have psoriatic arthritis get this variation of the disease that leads to the deformation of joints.
What Causes PsA Mutilans?
PsA mutilans is considered the most severe form of psoriatic arthritis. It happens when the disease interrupts the normal process of bone growth and the regeneration of bone tissue. The result is an overall loss of bone and deformed joints.
Doctors aren’t sure what makes the body of a person with PsA mutilans to attack its own healthy tissues. However, they believe there is a genetic factor. Researchers have discovered genes that make it more likely for a person to get PsA. In addition, many people who get PsA also have a family member with the disease or with psoriasis.
What Are the Symptoms?
PsA typically affects the fingers, hands, feet, and toes, causing permanent damage and deformity. The appearance of the fingers is sometimes called “telescoping” or “opera glass hands.” The loss of bone causes the digits to become shorter and the skin bunches up around them. The reason the terms “telescoping” and “opera glass” are used is that fingers may lengthen when a doctor pulls on them, similar to the way a telescope or an opera glass used to see the stage does.
Other symptoms of PsA mutilans are:
- Joints in the hands and feet that don’t move well or at all.
- The fusing of the bones.
- Pain or throbbing in joints.
- Stiff, swollen joints.
- Changes in nails, like pitting or separation from the nail bed.
- Patches of skin that are red and scaly.
- Tendons that are swollen, painful, or tender.
PsA mutilans is a progressive disease, which means it gets worse over time. The sooner your aging relative is diagnosed, the sooner treatment can begin, which may slow the progression of the disease. Treatment can prevent disability or at least lengthen the amount of time before disability sets in.
If your aging relative has been diagnosed with PsA mutilans, they can benefit from the assistance of a senior care provider. A senior care provider can do tasks that require the manual dexterity the older adult may no longer have, such as fastening buttons and zippers. Senior care providers can also do things like assisting with house cleaning and cooking. In addition, having a senior care provider may help your older family member to better manage their disease since a senior care provider can remind them to take medications and drive them to medical appointments.
If you or an aging loved-one are considering Elderly Care in Laguna Woods, CA, please contact the caring staff at Canaan Home Care today!