Hilder, SL, Muller, S, Helliwell, T, Prior, JA, Scott, I, Lawton, SA, Zwierska, I, van Schaardenburg, D, van der Helm-van Mil, A, Raza, K and Mallen, CD (2019) Symptoms associated with inflammatory arthritis are common in the primary care population: results from the Joint Symptoms Survey. Rheumatology, 58 (11). pp. 2009-2014. ISSN 1462-0324

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Objectives: To describe the prevalence of self-reported inflammatory joint symptoms, such as joint pain, stiffness and swelling in UK primary care patients consulting for both musculoskeletal (MSK) and non-musculoskeletal (non-MSK) complaints.

Methods: A Joint Symptoms questionnaire survey was sent to 10,161 individuals, of whom 5,050 had consulted for MSK problems. These were matched by age, gender and general practice to non-MSK consulters. Participants provided data on relevant symptoms such as joint pain, stiffness and swelling. The prevalence of these symptoms, their severity and impact was compared between MSK and non-MSK consulters.

Results: 4,549 adults responded to the survey (adjusted response 45.8%) of whom 52.3% consulted for a musculoskeletal problem. The mean (SD) age was 61.6 (14.8) years and 58.9% were female. Persistent (on at least half of the days in the last month) inflammatory symptoms were common even in non-MSK consulters, with 42% reporting joint pain, 36% reporting joint stiffness and 18% reporting joint swelling. This is in comparison to 62% reporting joint pain, 50% stiffness and 24% swelling amongst MSK consulters.

Conclusions: Although symptoms such as persistent joint pain, swelling, and stiffness are predictive of inflammatory arthritis, large numbers of people consulting primary care for non-musculoskeletal reasons report these symptoms when asked by questionnaire. This compounds the challenges of diagnosing inflammatory arthritis in a non-specialist setting where new approaches are needed to ensure accurate, early diagnosis, facilitating a treat-to-target approach.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: This is the accepted author manuscript (AAM). The final published version (version of record) will be available online via Oxford University Press at https://doi.org/10.1093/rheumatology/kez184 - please refer to any applicable terms of use of the publisher.
Uncontrolled Keywords: inflammatory arthritis, joint pain, joint swelling, primary care
Subjects: R Medicine > RC Internal medicine > RC925 Diseases of the musculoskeletal system
R Medicine > RC Internal medicine > RC927 Rheumatism
Divisions: Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences > Primary Care Health Sciences
Depositing User: Symplectic
Date Deposited: 24 Apr 2019 09:02
Last Modified: 11 May 2020 01:30
URI: https://eprints.keele.ac.uk/id/eprint/6208

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