Knowing the difference between psoriatic arthritis, osteoarthritis, gout, and rheumatoid arthritis can get challenging, especially when so many symptoms and causes overlap. Arthur Mandelin, M.D., Ph.D., an NPF medical board member and a rheumatologist at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago, helps clear up any confusion.
Doctor’s notes: In simplest terms, psoriatic arthritis (PsA) is a disease in which the body’s immune system attacks healthy cells, specifically in the joints. About a third of people with psoriasis also develop PsA sometime in their lifetime. While PsA shares similarities with rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, and gout, it is dissimilar, especially in the case of gout and osteoarthritis.
“Psoriatic arthritis is a disease,” says Mandelin. “Something is going on in the body that shouldn’t be going on, making the person ill and driving inflammation and the arthritic process.”
Rheumatoid arthritis and PsA share many similarities, as they are both caused by issues in the immune system. However, one of the ways in which PsA differs from rheumatoid arthritis is that it can affect the spine, where RA rarely strikes, Mandelin explains.
One major similarity between PsA and rheumatoid arthritis is how they are handled. For the most part, the two have similar treatment options (biologics, oral treatments, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, etc.) and the trial-and-error process to find what works best for each individual.
- Swelling and pain in the joints
- Limited range of motion
- Tenderness and pain in the tendons (fibrous tissue that attaches muscle to bone)
- Morning stiffness and general fatigue
- Pain in the eyes and redness of the cornea
- Biologics and biosimilars
- Oral treatments
- Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs
- Disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs