Nearly one in four people with psoriasis may have undiagnosed psoriatic arthritis, a type of inflammatory arthritis that affects the joints and tendons, according to a new National Psoriasis Foundation survey. This is in addition to the up to 2 million people already diagnosed with psoriatic arthritis.
For the survey, conducted last April and May, the Psoriasis Foundation interviewed 477 people: 58 percent had psoriasis only, 2 percent had psoriatic arthritis only and 40 percent had both conditions.
Twenty-two percent of the psoriasis-only respondents reported significant symptoms of psoriatic arthritis, including joint pain; pain that moved from one joint to the other; joints that were hot to the touch; and swollen, sausage-like fingers and toes.
The research also revealed a delay of diagnosis for psoriatic arthritis patients. Forty-four percent of individuals experienced symptoms for one year or longer before receiving a diagnosis from a doctor. It’s critical to diagnose and treat psoriatic arthritis early to prevent or slow joint damage.
Additionally, psoriatic arthritis impacts quality of life: 63 percent of psoriatic arthritis patients report not being as active as they once were, nearly half (47 percent) said the disease impairs their ability to work, 34 percent experience trouble getting in and out of a car and 34 percent had stiffness for more than two hours after waking up.
The National Psoriasis Foundation Medical Board recommends that people with psoriasis and/or a family history of psoriasis watch for the following symptoms, and if they experience one or more of them, call their doctor.
- Pain, swelling or stiffness in one or more joints;
- Joints that are red or hot to the touch;
- Frequent joint tenderness or stiffness;
- Sausage-like swelling in one or more fingers or toes;
- Pain in and around the feet and ankles;
- Changes to the nails, such as pitting or separation from the nail bed;
- Pain in the lower back, above the tailbone.
Medical professionals who treat people with psoriasis should also examine these patients at each exam for symptoms of psoriatic arthritis.