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Psoriatic arthritis and misdiagnosis

On Behalf of | Apr 12, 2021 | Injuries |

People in Virginia who are suffering from psoriatic arthritis may be misdiagnosed. Misdiagnosis of this type of arthritis is common for a few reasons. One is because it may resemble a number of other conditions. This is particularly true if arthritis presents before the skin rash associated with psoriasis does. Another reason is that there is not a blood test that can be done for PsA. This means that a physician must do some detective work to eliminate other possibilities.

The high cost of PsA misdiagnosis

More than two-thirds of people with PsA have a delayed diagnosis, in some cases one that takes as long as two years. Of course, one of the problems with a misdiagnosis is receiving treatments that do nothing to mitigate the condition. However, with PsA, there can be even more serious consequences. Once the delay in diagnosis stretched beyond six months, people are less likely to respond to treatment and may suffer from more joint damage.

Commonly confused conditions

While PsA is confused with a number of other conditions, there are telltale signs that set it apart. For example, the nails of people with PsA often split, turn yellow or peel. This can distinguish from rheumatoid arthritis as well as other forms of arthritis. PsA differs from gout in that it is chronic as opposed to episodic. PsA can also be confused with osteoarthritis, but OA tends to be caused by joint degeneration while PsA is inflammatory. Swollen fingers may indicate that a person with joint pain has PsA instead of OA.

Getting the right diagnosis

There are a number of things physicians can do to help ensure that if PsA is present, it is diagnosed. This includes looking for typical signs in addition to joint pain, such as swollen digits or nail deterioration. MRIs and testing joint fluid can also help identify PsA. If physicians overlook these kinds of signs and tests, they may not be providing a reasonable standard of care and could be committing medical malpractice.