Table 1

Characteristics of the major rheumatic diseases

Rheumatoid arthritisAnkylosing spondylitisPsoriatic arthritis
Major clinical characteristics and symptoms*Arthritis of three or more joints
Elevated CRP and ESR
Positive RF and anti-CCP antibodies
Predominant in females in 2–3:1 ratio
Onset in 4th, 5th or 6th decade
Arthritis of SI and axial joints
Ankyloses of spinal column
Associated with HLA-B27 genotype
Elevated CRP and ESR in approximately 50%
Predominant in men 3:1
Onset generally before the age of 30, but often delayed diagnosis due to lack of disease knowledge and misdiagnosis, especially in women
Inflammation of distal joints (DIPs > PIPs)
Psoriasis
Slight predominance in males
Onset 45–54 years
Rheumatic treatment optionsNSAIDs
Oral/intra-articular glucocorticosteroids
DMARDs
Biologicals
NSAIDs
Oral/intra-articular glucocorticosteroids
Biologicals
NSAIDs
Oral/intra-articular glucocorticosteroids
DMARDs
Biologicals
Cardiovascular riskTwofold increased mortality rate (comparable to DM2)
CV disease main cause of death, mainly due to atherosclerotic disease
Increased mortality rate
CV main cause of death
Both atherosclerotic disease and specific cardiac manifestations
Increased mortality rate
Increased prevalence of MI
  • *Many rheumatic disease share symptoms; therefore, this list includes the typical major characteristics, but is in no means an exclusive or complete list of symptoms.

  • Anti-CCP, anticitrullinated protein antibody; CRP, C reactive protein; CV, cardiovascular; DIP, distal interphalangeal joint; DM2, diabetes mellitus type 2; DMARDs, disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs; ESR, erythrocyte sedimentation rate; MI, myocardial infarction; NSAIDs, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs; PIP, proximal interphalangeal joint; RF, rheumatoid factor; SI, sacroiliac.