ATLANTA and PORTLAND, Ore., March 2, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Two leading patient advocacy organizations have joined forces to educate people about psoriatic arthritis, an inflammatory disease that can lead to joint damage, especially if not diagnosed and treated early. The Joint Smart Coalition, launched today by the Arthritis Foundation and the National Psoriasis Foundation in collaboration with Amgen and Pfizer, aims to provide empowering and educational resources for people with psoriatic arthritis and other related inflammatory conditions like rheumatoid arthritis and plaque psoriasis.
A key component of the effort is BeJointSmart.org, a website that provides resources and information for people to learn more about these diseases. The central message of the site is that people who have certain chronic inflammatory diseases should carefully monitor their joint health, and see a doctor if they experience pain, tenderness or swelling in their joints lasting more than three days, or similar symptoms that come and go several times in a month.
"About 7.5 million adult Americans have psoriasis, a serious chronic disease that appears on the skin," said Randy Beranek, president and CEO of the National Psoriasis Foundation. Psoriasis occurs when the immune system sends out faulty signals that speed up the growth cycle of skin cells. Up to 30% of patients diagnosed with psoriasis may actually have psoriatic arthritis. "Many of them are not aware that they may actually have this potentially disabling form of arthritis."
"Early diagnosis and treatment of psoriatic arthritis can help to stop or slow the progression of permanent damage to the joints," says Dr. Patience White, Arthritis Foundation vice president of public health. "Through the 'Be Joint Smart' effort we aim to educate people with chronic inflammatory forms of arthritis, like psoriatic arthritis, to seek early diagnosis and treatment to reduce the potential for progression of joint damage."
While 70 percent of people who develop the disease already have skin lesions, others develop the arthritis first, or develop both skin and joint symptoms at about the same time. People with a family history of either psoriasis or psoriatic arthritis are also at risk.
If you or someone in your family has psoriasis and/or you are experiencing persistent or recurring joint pain, stiffness or swelling, the Joint Smart Coalition urges you to see a doctor. Learn more at BeJointSmart.org.
About the Joint Smart Coalition
BeJointSmart.org is a project of the Joint Smart Coalition, a new effort between the Arthritis Foundation and the National Psoriasis Foundation dedicated to people with psoriatic arthritis, and to providing an empowering and educational resource for them and for people with other related inflammatory conditions like rheumatoid arthritis and plaque psoriasis. The Joint Smart Coalition is made possible through a collaboration with Amgen and Pfizer.
About the Arthritis Foundation
The Arthritis Foundation (www.arthritis.org) champions the needs of the 50 million adults and 300,000 children living with arthritis, the nation's leading cause of disability. We fund groundbreaking research that has restored mobility in patients for more than six decades, fight for access to quality health care, and provide transformative programs to alleviate the debilitating pain and limitations caused by arthritis, including psoriatic arthritis.
About the National Psoriasis Foundation
The National Psoriasis Foundation (www.psoriasis.org) is the largest nonprofit patient advocacy organization serving people with psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis. In addition to assisting nearly 2 million people annually through educational programs and services, the Psoriasis Foundation is the largest charitable funder of psoriatic disease research worldwide.
SOURCE Arthritis Foundation; National Psoriasis Foundation