Up to 15 percent with psoriasis have undiagnosed PsA

| Melissa Leavitt

According to the results of a recent study, a large percentage of people with psoriasis may have psoriatic arthritis, too—and not even know it. In a study published in June in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, researchers reported that up to 15 percent of people being treated for psoriasis could have undiagnosed psoriatic arthritis.

To determine this percentage, researchers looked at 12 previous studies that had identified the number of people with psoriasis who had been recently diagnosed with psoriatic arthritis. Combining the data from these studies, researchers found that the rate of undiagnosed psoriatic arthritis in people being treated for psoriasis could be between 10.1 percent and 15.5 percent, according to the data.

Guidelines issued by the American Academy of Dermatology in 2009 recommend that dermatologists screen all psoriasis patients for psoriatic arthritis on a regular basis, the researchers noted. The high prevalence of psoriatic arthritis found in this study drives home the need for dermatologists to check for signs of arthritis in their patients, and refer them to a rheumatologist if needed, according to the researchers.

Up to 30 percent of people with psoriasis may develop psoriatic arthritis, according to previous studies. Warning signs include pain in the joints or tendons, swollen fingers and toes and changes in your fingernails or toenails. The severity of your psoriasis is not tied to your risk for psoriatic arthritis. Psoriatic arthritis can develop in people with mild or severe psoriasis, and many people with severe psoriasis do not develop psoriatic arthritis.

Catching psoriatic arthritis early can help prevent more severe joint damage later, the researchers noted. Patients should work with their dermatologists to be aware of any symptoms, and begin treatment for psoriatic arthritis as soon as possible. 

Driving discovery, creating community

For more than 50 years, we’ve been driving efforts to cure psoriatic disease and improve the lives of those affected. But there’s still plenty to do! Learn how you can help our advocacy team shape the laws and policies that affect people with psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis – in your state and across the country. Help us raise funds to support research by joining Team NPF, where you can walk, run, cycle, play bingo or create your own fundraising event. If you or someone you love needs free, personalized support for living a healthier life with psoriatic disease, contact our Patient Navigation Center. And keep the National Psoriasis Foundation going strong by making a donation today. Together, we will find a cure.

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