Belsky Weinberg & Horowitz, LLC A Personal Injury & Workers’ Compensation Law Firm

Challenges in diagnosing various forms of arthritis

Maryland residents might notice increasing joint pain as they get older. Such ailments can often be attributed to osteoarthritis, a medical condition that's estimated to be a problem for approximately 70 percent of those over the age of 55. This form of arthritis is typically attributed to wear on the joints through use over time. However, it is important to consider other types of arthritis that can mirror the effects of OA. For some people, psoriatic arthritis could be the actual medical condition causing the aches and pains in question.

Psoriatic arthritis is an inflammatory disease that can impact the body in a cyclical manner. A flare-up could lead to swelling and deformity in small joints and in the joints of the axial spine. This can often be accompanied by problems with psoriasis, a skin condition in which scaly patches develop. Both OA and PsA can be treated with anti-inflammatory medicines, but the results could vary based on the condition. With OA, anti-inflammatory treatment might not resolve the pain or reverse the joint damage. With PsA, severe inflammation could require stronger medications.

Failing to properly treat PsA can have major consequences for a patient because the inflammatory processes can continue to cause severe deterioration, deformity and pain. It can be difficult to recognize the presence of inflammatory arthritis because of the prevalence of OA among aging patients. Some indicators that might suggest PsA or another inflammatory condition include fatigue, cycles of pain and extensive joint damage.

A patient may not be aware of different forms of arthritis or other medical conditions. This can create a dependency on a medical professional's expertise and recommendations for identifying and resolving such issues. In a case involving careless oversight of clear signs of a specific condition, a patient might consider the provider's failure to diagnose as possible grounds for a medical malpractice claim.

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