People in North Carolina with psoriatic arthritis may be misdiagnosed with the more common osteoarthritis. While there are some symptoms that set the two apart, they are also similar in many ways. This can raise problems because the treatments for the two conditions are very different. As much as 70 percent of the population aged 55 to 78 suffer from osteoarthritis while fewer people develop psoriatic arthritis.
Osteoarthritis and psoriatic arthritis are similar in that they involve joint pain and swelling, typically occur when a person is over 40 and are linked to excess weight. Osteoarthritis can initially look like psoriatic arthritis in terms of small joint swelling. The development of a bony growth links this swelling to osteoarthritis; however, it may be several years later before such growths form. Osteoarthritis is more common in weight-bearing joints while psoriatic arthritis is more common in areas such as the spine, toes and fingers.
Both types of arthritis are diagnosed more through the process of elimination than through any physical test. Psoriatic arthritis is primarily characterized by inflammation while inflammation is much less common with osteoarthritis. A person mistakenly diagnosed with osteoarthritis may therefore find little relief when using anti-inflammatories as treatment. Both conditions might be treated with surgery in some cases.
Failure to diagnose the correct form of arthritis is one of many types of misdiagnosis that can occur. In some cases, a doctor might reach a misdiagnosis due to ignoring certain symptoms or misinterpreting test results. A person who suffers serious health problems as a result of a misdiagnosis might want to consult an attorney about a malpractice lawsuit.