Psoriatic Arthritis Prevalence and Symptoms
National Psoriasis Foundation
Bruce F. Bebo, Jr., Ph.D., Director of Research and Medical Programs National Psoriasis Foundation
What are the main findings of the study?
New research from the National Psoriasis Foundation reveals that psoriatic arthritis may be more common than currently thought.
The data shows nearly one in four people with psoriasis may have undiagnosed psoriatic arthritis—a type of inflammatory arthritis that affects the joints and tendons and is reported to occur in as many as 2 million Americans.
The second key finding is that people with psoriatic arthritis are not being diagnosed in a timely manner.
Nearly half of respondents (44 percent) said they had symptoms for one year or longer before being diagnosed, and nearly one in three people reported a delay of two years or more for a diagnosis. It’s critical to diagnose and treat the disease early to prevent or slow joint damage. Learn more about this research at www.psoriasis.org/survey.
Were any of the findings unexpected?
The findings were not entirely unexpected as we’ve heard anecdotally for years that people experience a delay of diagnosis or complain about symptoms and wonder if they have psoriatic arthritis.
These findings are concerning because of the degenerative nature of this disease, which can be disabling if not treated. Early intervention is critical to preventing joint damage.
There is little to no data on the prevalence of undiagnosed psoriatic arthritis, so our findings are important to help document the problem and inspire more research into the cause for this problem
What should clinicians and patients take away from this study?
Both patients and health care providers should be vigilant about joint health, especially if the patient has psoriasis or a family history of the disease.
If an individual has joint pain, swelling or stiffness for three consecutive days or more, they should see a doctor as soon as possible. Medical professionals who treat people with psoriasis should screen for psoriatic arthritis at each visit.
The National Psoriasis Foundation medical board recommends that health care providers who treat people with psoriasis ask these patients the following questions at each exam:
- Do your joints hurt?
- Are your joints stiff or tender?
- Are your joints red or hot to the touch?
- Do your joints become swollen?
- Do your fingers and toes swell up, making them look like sausages?
- Have you noticed changes to your nails such as pitting and/or separation from the nail bed?
- Do you have pain in and around your feet and ankles or at your lower back, above the tailbone?
What recommendations do you have for future studies as a result of this study?
First, we need to determine more precisely the prevalence of psoriatic arthritis in the US population and whether treatment of psoriasis can delay or maybe even prevent the onset of psoriatic arthritis.
Second, we need to know more about the burden of disease and how it impacts people’s quality of life.
Finally, we need to determine the why diagnosis of psoriatic arthritis takes such a long time for some people so that we can reverse this trend and prevent unnecessary damage to the joints.
National Psoriasis Foundation
Bruce F. Bebo, Jr., Ph.D., Director of Research and Medical Programs National Psoriasis