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Psoriatic Arthritis? An Early Diagnosis Can Change Your Life

Psoriasis patient asks her doctor about psoriatic arthritisIf you think you might have psoriatic arthritis, then you make an appointment with your doctor right away. This sounds like a no-brainer, but many don’t report their symptoms right away. Hopefully, this will become less common following the results of a recent clinical study.

According to new findings, waiting for just 6 months could lead to significantly worse joint and bone damage. You are in fact risking worse levels of physical disability if you choose to ignore the warning signs.

The results of this study were published in the February issue of the Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases.

This an important consideration and one we wanted to share with you now because it is Psoriasis Awareness Month. If you have been diagnosed with this autoimmune disease, then you are at risk for developing psoriatic arthritis.

(We recommend that you let anyone you know who has psoriasis about this new study.)

The Psoriatic Arthritis Clinical Study

The research team worked with 283 volunteers who had been diagnosed with psoriatic arthritis. They asked them questions and analyzed their overall condition in order to test the relationship between how long it took them to get their diagnosis and the perceived disease severity at the time of study.

For the purposes of the study, the team looked at how many had been diagnosed within six month of symptom onset. They discovered that:

  • Only 30 percent of the patients had been diagnosed within six months
  • 70 percent had gone at least 2 years before being diagnosed
Doctor thinks the inflamed joints mean psoriatic arthritis

Ignoring that knee pain could be problematic

Waiting over sixth months led to clinically worse outcomes. Patients not only presented with worse symptoms, but they also did not respond to treatment as well. Those who had gone a year had a very slim chance of achieving disease remission compared to those who had been diagnosed quickly.

(By remission, we mean that the patient is no longer experiencing any of the symptoms of their condition.)

According to the research team for this study, one of the best ways to reduce the diagnostic delays we are seeing is through patient education. We can absolutely agree with that assessment. Also, it’s a good idea to get checked for this condition if you are living with psoriasis.

What Are the Signs of Psoriatic Arthritis?

First off, we have three questions for you:

  • Have you been diagnosed with psoriasis?
  • Does psoriasis run in your family?
  • Have you been experiencing any unusual pain or swelling in the joints?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, then we recommend that you talk to your doctor about psoriatic arthritis.

Physician explains early signs of psoriatic arthritis

Patient education is crucial moving forward.

Studies conducted by the National Psoriasis Foundation suggest that as many as 1 in 4 psoriasis patients are living with undiagnosed cases of psoriatic arthritis. Given what we learned in the first half of this post, that’s a rather alarming statistic.

After extensive research on the subject, the Psoriasis Foundation Medical Board developed a symptom evaluation list for medical professionals and people living with psoriasis. Remember that it’s Psoriasis Awareness Month, so take note if this is new to you.

This list was created for psoriasis patients and/or those with a family history of this skin condition. If that is you, here are some symptoms to look out for:

  • Your joints have become red and are warm to the touch
  • You’ve experiencing swelling, pain or stiffness in one or more joints
  • Your joints have been stiff or tender frequently
  • You’ve experiencing pain in and around the ankles and feet
  • You’ve experienced swelling in the fingers or toes (they may resemble sausages)
  • You’ve experienced pain in the tailbone or lower back
  • You’ve noticed some pitting or separation from the nail bed (referring to your nails)

Have you experienced one or more of these symptoms? Please make an appointment with a physician as soon as possible.

Conclusion

With an estimated 30% of psoriasis patients expected to develop psoriatic arthritis over the course of their lifetimes, these are guidelines that can and will help millions of people recognize the earlier signs of this chronic illness.

That means that they can seek medical attention and get the treatment they need at an earlier stage. Patients could also choose to take part in a psoriatic arthritis clinical trial if they wish. Something that would help improve available medicine for others in the near future.

Do you think that you could tell if you were developing psoriatic arthritis based on the recommendations provided here? Let us know in the comments section below.

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