We know that it is hard living with debilitating symptoms of chronic disease. It shouldn’t be hard to get a proper diagnosis and start a well-thought-out treatment plan, but for many patients, it is.
After reviewing two research presentations shared at the 2018 European League Against Rheumatism (EULAR) annual meeting, we learned that many people aren’t getting diagnosed or treated quickly enough. Misdiagnosis is common. Friends, family members, and colleagues often don’t understand the seriousness of living with a chronic illness such as psoriatic arthritis or ankylosing spondylitis.
Why does this matter? Because the sooner you get the right diagnosis and treatment game plan, the better control you have over your disease. You can ease symptoms, reduce your chances for having more serious health problems over time, and start to reclaim your everyday life routines with your family and friends.
Check out these eye-opening research findings about what it takes to get diagnosed and treated for people with ankylosing spondylitis (AS) or psoriatic arthritis (PsA):
Getting Diagnosed with Ankylosing Spondylitis
- Nearly a third of respondents reported that it took more than 10 years to receive a formal diagnosis from when they began seeking medical attention.
- Almost all respondents (96 percent) received at least one misdiagnosis; 36 percent received a misdiagnosis of psychosomatic or “all in my head.”
- Symptoms that led to seeking medical care differed based on gender: Females were more likely to seek medical care with foot problems; males were more likely to seek medical care due to red or inflamed eyes (uveitis).
- More than half of respondents experience a lack of understanding from family, friends, and coworkers about their AS.
Source: Diagnosis Journey of Patients with Ankylosing Spondylitis in the United States
Getting Diagnosed with Psoriatic Arthritis
- Almost all respondents (96 percent) received at least one misdiagnosis; as much as a quarter of patients received a misdiagnosis of psychosomatic or “all in my head.”
- For 30 percent of PsA patients, it took more than five years to get diagnosed.
- Common symptoms that led to seeking medical care included joint pain, fatigue, stiffness, swollen joints, back problems, foot problems, and tendon or ligament pain.
- Respondents most commonly sought care from a general practitioner (80 percent), rheumatologist (67 percent), and/or dermatologist (33 percent) but respondents also sought care from orthopedists (22 percent), podiatrists (12 percent), and chiropractors (11 percent).
Source: Diagnostic Experiences of Patients with Psoriatic Arthritis: Misdiagnosis is Common
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Novartis initiated, contributed to, and funded the survey, which was conducted by ICON Clinical Research Limited in collaboration with the Global Healthy Living Foundation.