Experts call for a joint approach to immune-mediated diseases

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Who hasn’t had back pain at some point? There are some diseases that, apart from being rare in the family doctor’s office, present with common and mild symptoms that further complicate the diagnosis, for example, ankylosing spondylitis. It can take between five and nine years for the specialist to name your condition, and the same is true for many of what are considered immune-mediated inflammatory diseases (IMID).

A recent study indicated that patients with hidradenitis suppurativa take an average of 10.5 years to become aware of their condition. For this reason, experts in this type of pathology demand greater attention, not only to treatments, but to early detection. This was indicated at the discussion table on immune-mediated diseases recently organized by EL MUNDO, with the sponsorship of AbbVie and AstraZeneca.

Psoriasis, rheumatoid arthritis, ulcerative colitis, sarcoidosis, Crohn’s disease, lupus… IMIDs constitute a very heterogeneous set of chronic and disabling diseases. that affect “around 12% of the Spanish population,” said Carlos González Fernández, a rheumatologist at the Gregorio Marañón University Hospital in Madrid. Each one has its own path, in terms of its own peculiarities, symptoms, prognosis and treatments. However, they all share the imbalance of inflammatory cytokines, they all have a genetic component and in all of them, the environmental factor plays a primary role.

As a consequence of all this, it is not strange that several of these diseases occur in the same patient. Specifically, it has been seen that almost 10% are diagnosed with two or more immune-mediated diseases. In the case of ankylosing spondylitis, it is estimated that between 5% and 10% of those affected will end up developing an inflammatory bowel disease, either ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s disease.

«Up to 25% of people with psoriasis develop psoriatic arthritis», stressed González Fernández. Hence, multidisciplinary work is a key piece in the management of these diseases. Unfortunately, not all hospitals have a comprehensive care unit. “What we do is ask colleagues from different specialties for help, for the benefit of the patient,” said Paco Mesonero, gastroenterologist at the Ramón y Cajal University Hospital in Madrid.

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