How is PsA diagnosed?

It’s really important to diagnose and treat PsA (psoriatic arthritis) as early as possible. If you don’t, it could cause joint damage.1 You may first see a GP (General Practitioner) when you notice symptoms you can’t explain.2 If you’ve already been diagnosed (confirmed) with psoriasis, you probably saw a dermatologist, or skin specialist.3 If you speak to your GP or dermatologist about joint pain, he or she might refer you to a rheumatologist, or joint specialist.2,3

TOP TIP

About 80% of patients who have PsA also have psoriasis, so if you have joint pain, but not Pso, keep an eye on your skin.4

 

 

There’s no specific test for PsA, but there are certain things your healthcare professional will probably look out for.5 Firstly, you’ll be assessed and asked about the swelling and pain you’ve noticed.5 PsA affects quality of life and movement, so you might be questioned about yours.2,6 Then you might be asked about your family history as you’re more likely to develop it if someone else in your family has it.7 Because the symptoms can be similar to rheumatoid arthritis, you’ll probably have some tests to rule it out, including blood tests.2 You might also have an X-ray to see whether the swelling and damage is visible.2

We’ve put together some tips to help you have a constructive conversation during your appointment, because you should be in control of your PsA and not the other way around.

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1.    National Psoriasis Foundation. About psoriatic arthritis. Available at: https://www.psoriasis.org/about-psoriatic-arthritis Accessed: June 2020.
2.    NHS. Psoriatic arthritis. Available at: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/psoriatic-arthritis/ Accessed: June 2020.
3.    PAPAA. Psoriasis: a simple explanation. Available at: https://www.papaa.org/learn-about-psoriasis-and-psoriatic-arthritis/common-questions/psoriasis-a-simple-explanation/ Accessed: June 2020.
4.    Coates LC and Helliwell PS. Clin Med 2017: 17(1):65-70.
5.    Arthritis Foundation. Psoriatic arthritis. Available at: https://www.arthritis.org/diseases/psoriatic-arthritis Accessed: June 2020.
6.    WebMD. The emotional effects of psoriatic arthritis. Available at: https://www.webmd.com/arthritis/psoriatic-arthritis/the-emotional-toll-of-psoriatic-arthritis Accessed: June 2020.
7.    WebMD. Psoriatic arthritis. Available at: https://www.webmd.com/arthritis/psoriatic-arthritis/psoriatic-arthritis-the-basics  Accessed: June 2020.