How Common is Psoriatic Arthritis?

Reviewed by: HU Medical Review Board | Last reviewed: June 2022 | Last updated: September 2022

Psoriatic arthritis (PsA) is a chronic inflammatory arthritis linked to psoriasis. It is difficult to diagnose PsA, which has led to a high number of people who are misdiagnosed or undiagnosed. There are a couple of reasons why:1

  • PsA involves a wide range of symptoms that vary from person to person.
  • There is a lack of widely accepted diagnostic criteria for PsA.
  • Who gets PsA and psoriasis?

    Experts think that roughly 1 million people in the United States have PsA. Men and women are equally affected. The condition generally develops in people who are 30 to 50 years old. It is most common in people who are in their 40s and 50s.2,3

    Studies show that about 1 in 3 people with psoriasis will go on to develop PsA. Among those who have PsA, 85 percent of them had psoriasis first. More than 15 percent of people with psoriasis may be living with PsA and not know it because symptoms vary greatly.3

    Special populations affected by PsA

    While PsA affects men and women equally, there are special populations with unique considerations.4-6

    Children

    PsA can occur in children and teens. The onset of PsA symptoms usually occurs when a child is between 9 and 11 years old. This form of PsA is called juvenile PsA.4-6

    Pregnant people

    Women make up half of the population living with PsA. There are special considerations for people with PsA who become pregnant.4-6
    You can have a healthy pregnancy while also having PsA. But because symptoms may fluctuate during pregnancy and birth, it is a good idea to be closely monitored by your rheumatologist and obstetrician. Some PsA treatment options are not safe in pregnancy.4-6

    Communities of color

    PsA can occur in people of any racial or ethnic group. However, white people seem to be affected more commonly. That said, PsA across communities of color has not been widely studied.4-6

    PsA is reported less often by Black people, Asian people, and Latinos. This lower incidence could be because communities of color often have less access to healthcare.

    It could also be due to lower awareness of PsA among communities of color. More research needs to be done to establish the number of people with of PsA across all racial and ethnic groups.4-6

    What are the most common PsA symptoms?

    Each person with PsA can experience a wide array of symptoms. They also vary from person to person. The most common PsA symptoms include:4-6

    • Nail changes (nail pitting or nail lesions) in about 87 percent of people with PsA
    • Swelling or inflammation in the fingers and toes (dactylitis) in roughly 50 percent of people with PsA
    • Inflammation of the tendons, ligaments, and joints in about 50 percent of people with PsA
    • Stiffness and inflammation between the vertebrae in the spine (spondylitis) or between the spine and the pelvis (sacroiliitis) in about 40 percent of people with PsA
    • Eye inflammation (uveitis) in roughly 7 percent of people with PsA

    PsA is often mistaken for another disease or condition. If you have any of the above symptoms or a family history of PsA, speak with your doctor.

    This or That

    After getting diagnosed with psoriatic arthritis, I felt more

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