Wednesday, March 02, 2011

Arthritis Foundation and National Psoriasis Foundation Launch Effort to Encourage Early Diagnosis and Treatment of Psoriatic Arthritis

/PRNewswire/ -- Two leading patient advocacy organizations have joined forces to educate people about psoriatic arthritis, an inflammatory disease that can lead to joint damage, especially if not diagnosed and treated early. The Joint Smart Coalition, launched today by the Arthritis Foundation and the National Psoriasis Foundation in collaboration with Amgen and Pfizer, aims to provide empowering and educational resources for people with psoriatic arthritis and other related inflammatory conditions like rheumatoid arthritis and plaque psoriasis.

A key component of the effort is BeJointSmart.org, a website that provides resources and information for people to learn more about these diseases. The central message of the site is that people who have certain chronic inflammatory diseases should carefully monitor their joint health, and see a doctor if they experience pain, tenderness or swelling in their joints lasting more than three days, or similar symptoms that come and go several times in a month.

"About 7.5 million adult Americans have psoriasis, a serious chronic disease that appears on the skin," said Randy Beranek, president and CEO of the National Psoriasis Foundation. Psoriasis occurs when the immune system sends out faulty signals that speed up the growth cycle of skin cells. Up to 30% of patients diagnosed with psoriasis may actually have psoriatic arthritis. "Many of them are not aware that they may actually have this potentially disabling form of arthritis."

"Early diagnosis and treatment of psoriatic arthritis can help to stop or slow the progression of permanent damage to the joints," says Dr. Patience White, Arthritis Foundation vice president of public health. "Through the 'Be Joint Smart' effort we aim to educate people with chronic inflammatory forms of arthritis, like psoriatic arthritis, to seek early diagnosis and treatment to reduce the potential for progression of joint damage."

While 70 percent of people who develop the disease already have skin lesions, others develop the arthritis first, or develop both skin and joint symptoms at about the same time. People with a family history of either psoriasis or psoriatic arthritis are also at risk.

If you or someone in your family has psoriasis and/or you are experiencing persistent or recurring joint pain, stiffness or swelling, the Joint Smart Coalition urges you to see a doctor. Learn more at BeJointSmart.org.

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