July 21, 2024

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Early detection of arthritis in psoriatic arthritis through new research – More attention to common joint diseases in people with psoriasis

Early detection of arthritis in psoriatic arthritis through new research – More attention to common joint diseases in people with psoriasis

July 4, 2024

A large proportion of the Dutch population suffers from psoriasis. One in four psoriasis patients develops psoriatic arthritis. This causes joint damage in the patient. Dermatologists are not always adequately trained to recognize this. Doctor and researcher Tamara van Hal from Sint Maartenskliniek has developed simple tips in collaboration with dermatologists from Radboud University Medical Center. Thanks to this advice, the dermatologist can refer the patient to a rheumatologist in a more targeted manner. On 4 July, Tamara van Hal will defend her thesis at Radboud University.

Advice from a dermatologist

Dermatologists treat patients with the skin condition psoriasis. It is important for a dermatologist to also look for signs of psoriatic arthritis, a chronic inflammatory disease that affects the joints and skin. Tamara Van Hal’s PhD research shows that people with psoriasis who have the following characteristics are more likely to develop psoriatic arthritis:

  • Patients with swollen fingers and toes;
  • Patients with joint pain without an obvious cause.
  • Patients who are taking heavy medications for psoriasis.
  • Patients who use injections and pills instead of ointments.

The accompanying questionnaire can help dermatologists select appropriate patients for referral. Tamara Van Hal: Under the right conditions, it is possible to identify almost all patients undergoing skin treatment for psoriasis who also have psoriatic arthritis.

Application in the future

This research shows that there is important evidence to enable dermatologists to identify these common complaints. “A questionnaire alone is not enough, we need to continue to work closely with rheumatologists to improve the detection of psoriatic arthritis, and also to further investigate whether there are biomarkers that can predict who will develop or already have psoriatic arthritis.”, Co-supervisor Joel van den Rijk says.

Impact on daily life

Psoriatic arthritis has an impact on the patient’s life. The disease makes them less able to perform their work. This is also evident from the numbers: only half of the patient group has a paid job.

500,000 psoriasis patients in the Netherlands

Psoriasis affects 500,000 Dutch people. It is a disease that involves inflammation of the skin and nails. Patients may experience red, thick, scaly patches on the skin. Psoriatic arthritis is a disease that involves inflammation of the joints and the place where tendons attach to bones.

About this promotion

Promotional presentation on July 4th at 10:30 am. Thesis Title: Undercover Rheumatologist – Psoriatic Arthritis Research in Dermatology Clinic (Available online after July 4.) (Co-promoters): Prof. Dr. E. M. J. de Jong, Dr. M. H. Wennink, Dr. J. M. P. A. van den Rijk, Dr. J. E. Vrieskolk. The defense can be followed via This is a live broadcast.This promotion was partly made possible through a collaboration between Radboudumc and Sint Maartenskliniek through a Young Investigator Grant from the Radboudumc Academic Medical Network.

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