(RxWiki News) It is important to diagnose a disease early so that the patient can start treatment as soon as possible. But many patients - such as those with psoriatic arthritis - go months or years without a diagnosis.
Almost one quarter of patients with psoriasis may have undiagnosed psoriatic arthritis - a form of arthritis that affects the joints and tendons.
"Watch for psoriatic arthritis symptons if you have psoriasis."
Earlier this year, researchers from the National Psoriasis Foundation conducted a survey of patients with psoriasis (a skin condition that causes skin redness and irritation) and psoriatic arthritis. Out of 477 patients, 58 percent were affected by psoriasis only, 2 percent had only psoriatic arthritis, and 40 percent suffered from both conditions.
The researchers found that 22 percent of the patients with only psoriasis reported major symptoms of psoriatic arthritis. These symptoms included joint pain; pain that jumped from one joint to another; joints that felt hot to touch; and swollen fingers and toes.
These findings highlight a major issue among psoriasis patients: there is a significant delay in the diagnosis of psoriatic arthritis patients. In fact, 44 percent of respondents in the survey had symptoms for at least one year before a doctor diagnosed them with psoriatic arthritis.
It is important to diagnose psoriatic arthritis early so that it can be treated sooner. Early treatment can prevent or slow down damage to joints, hopefully improving the quality of life for patents.
Patients with psoriatic arthritis often feel less active than they were in the past. They find it harder to work, or to get in or out of a car. Some patients also experience stiffness for at least two hours after waking up.
This study demonstrates the need for psoriasis patients and their doctors to be more aware of the symptoms of psoriatic arthritis. People with a family history of psoriasis should also be on the lookout for symptoms.