-- Robert Preidt
THURSDAY, Oct. 13 (HealthDay News) -- Nearly one in four
Americans with the chronic skin condition known as psoriasis may
also have undiagnosed psoriatic arthritis, according to a new
This is in addition to the 2 million people in the United States
who have been diagnosed with the disease, a type of inflammatory
arthritis that affects the joints and tendons and can lead to joint
destruction and disability.
For the study, the National Psoriasis Foundation conducted phone
and online interviews of 477 people with psoriasis and psoriatic
arthritis. The investigators found that 22 percent of the
participants who had been diagnosed with psoriasis-only had
significant symptoms of psoriatic arthritis: joint pain, pain that
shifts from one joint to the other, joints that felt hot to the
touch and very swollen fingers and toes.
Psoriasis is the most common autoimmune disease in the United
States, affecting as many as 7.5 million people.
The study also found that diagnosis of psoriatic arthritis is
delayed in many people. Among the participants with known psoriatic
arthritis, 44 percent said it took a year or longer for them to be
diagnosed and nearly 30 percent said it took two years or longer
for them to be diagnosed.
"It's vital to diagnose and treat psoriatic arthritis early in order to prevent or slow joint damage," Dr. Mark Lebwohl, chair of the National Psoriasis Foundation Medical Board, said in a foundation news release.
The findings prompted the medical board to issue a set of
recommendations for psoriasis patients and doctors.
According to the National Psoriasis Foundation Medical Board,
people with psoriasis and/or a family history of the disease should
monitor themselves and contact their doctor if they experience one
or more of the following symptoms:
"Up to 30 percent of people with psoriasis develop psoriatic arthritis," Dr. Elaine Husni, a rheumatologist and psoriatic arthritis expert with the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio, said in the news release. "These guidelines could help millions of Americans with psoriasis recognize the signs of psoriatic arthritis early, so they can seek medical attention for a diagnosis and begin treatment. If untreated, the joint damage can be disabling."
The Arthritis Foundation has more about
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