Psoriatic Arthritis Causes

Genetics, Infections, and Other Causes

While the exact causes of psoriatic arthritis are unknown, researchers have some clues as to what can contribute to this type of arthritis that develops after psoriasis.

Researchers know that psoriatic arthritis can begin as early as childhood, but it typically appears in people who are between 30 and 50 years old. Men and women are affected by it equally,1 and psoriatic arthritis is more common in Caucasians than African-Americans or Asian-Americans.2

Also, most people—about 70%—develop psoriasis first, then psoriatic arthritis.2 But just because you have psoriasis doesn’t automatically mean you’ll develop psoriatic arthritis. However, people with psoriasis are at a greater risk of developing psoriatic arthritis than people who don’t have psoriasis.

Below are some other causes of psoriatic arthritis.

  • Your genes: You’re more likely to get psoriatic arthritis if you have a family member with the condition. Although this isn’t always true, 40% of people who have psoriatic arthritis have a family member with psoriasis or psoriatic arthritis.1 Researchers have actually discovered specific genetic markers associated with psoriatic arthritis.2
  • An infection: Scientists think psoriatic arthritis may possibly result from an infection that triggers the immune system, which can ultimately lead to psoriatic arthritis. While psoriasis itself is not a contagious disease, it might be triggered by an infection, such as streptococcal throat infection (strep throat).1 It’s how your immune system reacts to the infection that may trigger psoriatic arthritis.
  • Environmental factors: Environmental factors such as a physical trauma (eg, a bad car accident) may make you more prone to developing psoriatic arthritis.3

If you have questions about the causes of psoriatic arthritis and you have signs and symptoms of psoriatic arthritis, don’t be afraid to talk to your doctor about your concerns. Your doctor can provide you with more detailed information about the key causes of psoriatic arthritis.

Updated on: 11/17/15
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Psoriatic Arthritis Symptoms