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Psoriatic Arthritis Patients Need Better Screening, Experts

Update Date: Jul 23, 2014 05:14 PM EDT

For the first time, researchers have come together to call for a better screening of psoriatic arthritis to help millions of people worldwide suffering from the condition.

In psoriatic arthritis (PsA), people suffer painful joint inflammation, sometimes causing irreversible joint damage if left untreated.

PsA generally affects people with the skin condition psoriasis, which causes a red and scaly rash. According to statistics, PsA affects approximately two per cent of people in the UK.

The recommendations included:

  • Developing a screening tool for dermatologists and primary care doctors to identify suspected PsA patients
  • Raising awareness about the progression, health-related quality of life components, and other health issues associated with PsA
  • Improving communication between healthcare providers and patients

"We believe up to 50% of psoriasis patients with psoriatic arthritis are undiagnosed, living with sore, stiff and tender joints, without understanding what is causing this pain. Our review points the way forward for effective screening and treatment, in the hope that detection rates of the condition are improved and patients enjoy a better quality of life," said Dr Philip Helliwell, of the School of Medicine at the University of Leeds, a member of the Psoriatic Arthritis Forum, in the press release.

Apart from urging for a better screening, experts also called for improved referrals of patients including an algorithm to be developed to help community physicians on patient evaluation and treatment decisions.

"These recommendations serve as a guide for improving the timely diagnosis of PsA, as well as promoting global awareness of PsA. We need to develop better screening tools as a matter of urgency, as these will be cost-effective and lead to better health outcomes for thousands of people," Dr Helliwell added.

The study was published in the journal Arthritis Care and Research.

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