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I am currently
undergoing testing to figure out what kind of arthritis I have so I can
start some sort of treatment. Here's
a little history:
My Mom has
lupus and my younger sister is a flaker.
I'm 38 years old and over the years have had various aches and
pains but the past year has been much worse and more pronounced.
I finally saw a rheumatologist in September and she thinks that I
have P-arthritis. She did
blood and x-rays and reports that my antibody levels are
"normal" and the x-rays pretty much showed what she expected for
someone with joint pain.
My next test is
a bone scan and more blood and back again to the doctor.
I don't have any skin symptoms at this point.
What can you
tell me about P-arthritis? Is
there anything specific I should be on the lookout for?
Is there anything I can do at this point to help myself?
I am on Bextra everyday and also take glucosamine supplements as
Thank you so much. -Cynthia D.
Response: Probably the best
concise description of psoriatic arthritis I can recommend is the one
contained at WebMD.com. Here
is the direct link
Be sure and
copy the entire URL, beginning with "http..." and ending with
"...A348}" into your browser's address line.
If this fails, just go to http://www.webmd.com and search on
"psoriatic arthritis." This
should be the first reference the search results deliver.
It sounds to
me, Cynthia, like your rheumy is right on top of it — meaning she's
doing everything possible to identify your condition.
Though manifesting PA before skin P is not so common, it does
happen, and given the history of immune system-related diseases in your
family (lupus, psoriasis), and the fact that normal arthritis indicators
from blood tests are NOT present in your case, PA is likely.
When you and
your rheumy become convinced that your problem is PA, and when the
symptoms become severe enough to warrant it, she will probably recommend
methotrexate. My rheumy
initiated my first course with this drug — which lasted a year and
resulted in a complete remission of my PA and a substantial improvement of
my skin P. Methotrexate
(a.k.a. MTX) is not without its drawbacks.
You shouldn't use alcohol while you are taking and drug.
The drug also requires constant blood tests (typically monthly) to
ensure no liver damage is occurring. Fortunately,
if you and your doctor are diligent about monitoring your liver function
while you are on MTX, signs of liver dysfunction can be caught early, and
the drug dose reduced or stopped with no permanent damage done.
I've had two courses of MTX now and would go back on the drug
without hesitation if my PA threatens to become disabling.
Good luck to you! -Ed