No one knows why it develops or who will be affected, but about 10% of people who have the skin condition psoriasis will develop symptoms in their joints, known as psoriatic arthritis.
Now a study suggests that outcomes for treating psoriatic arthritis are better when patients are diagnosed earlier.
The study from Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases followed 238 patients with psoriatic arthritis for 10 years and compared their outcomes based on how long after symptoms first appeared they were diagnosed (6 months, 1 year, 2 years or more). They found that for every 6 month delay in diagnosis, long term outcomes went down for the patients. Later diagnosed patients had more symptoms, more signs of joint damage, and less chance of remission.1
If you have psoriasis, it’s very important to pay attention to signs that psoriatic arthritis may be developing, and see your doctor about them. Signs of psoriatic arthritis include:
- Joint stiffness, especially stiffness that’s worse in the morning but improves later in the day
- Soreness, especially in the lower back or neck
- Pain in the fingertips or ends of toes
- Joint pain in other joints
- Diagnostic delay of more than 6 months contributes to poor radiographic and functional outcome in psoriatic arthritis. Ann Rheum Dis. doi:10.1136/annrheumdis-2013-204858