Psoriatic arthritis management is more complicated than simply taking your prescribed medication. You can control your symptoms and avoid joint damage by making healthy lifestyle changes.
These bad habits can be replaced with better alternatives.
1. Being Too Stoic
Neglecting your symptoms and pushing through pain and discomfort in the joints can lead to serious consequences. According to the National Psoriasis Foundation (NPF), not treating your psoriatic joint disease can cause irreversible joint damage. You can reduce your joint stiffness and pain, as well as lower your chances of developing other health conditions.
2. Tuning in to your doctor
Although you may not agree with everything your doctor says, it is important to listen to what they have to say. Petros Efthimiou MD, FACR is the medical director at New York Rheumatology and Care and a clinical professor of medicine at Ross University School of Medicine. He says that there is a reason: “It gets results.”
Talk to your doctor if you have any questions about your treatment options.
3. Do not lose weight
Psoriatic arthritis is characterized by a high level of weight. This means that you are putting more pressure on your joints, especially your knees, with every step.
Your treatment’s effectiveness can be affected by obesity. Samardeep Gupta, MBBS is a rheumatologist at the University of Michigan Medical school in Ann Arbor. “Several studies have shown that weight reduction improves the response medications used for psoriaticarthritis,” he says.
The good news is: The good news? Talk to your doctor if you are overweight and set a goal for weight loss.
4. Eat Whatever You Like
There are no definite dietary guidelines for psoriatic. Dr. Gupta says that there is no convincing evidence that any other diet than a healthy and balanced one is effective. Dr. Gupta says that there is no compelling evidence that any diet other than a healthy, balanced one is effective in weight loss for obese or overweight adults.
Are you unsure where to begin? Dr. Efthimiou says current research points to a Mediterranean-style plant-based diet. This means that we should limit inflammation-promoting foods like dairy, red meats and nightshade veggies, and instead introduce protein-rich nuts, seeds, and other high-quality omega-3 fatty acid foods.
Talk to your doctor to discuss the best eating plan.
5. Skipping Exercise
Moving improves blood circulation throughout the body, including to the joints. This can prevent joint degeneration. Efthimiou stresses that exercise is crucial because of the connection between psoriatic and metabolic problems like high cholesterol, hypertension, and obesity.
You should aim to exercise 150 minutes each week. However, you need to be cleared by your doctor before you can start a routine.
6. Lighting Up
To make matters worse, smoking can increase your chances of getting psoriatic. Smokers with psoriatic disease may experience more symptoms such as joint pain and fatigue than non-smokers. A January 2019 study in Expert Review of Clinical Immunology revealed that smoking could be linked to poor treatment compliance in patients with psoriasis or psoriatic arthritis.
Efthimiou adds, “Research has shown that stopping smoking can improve your psoriaticarthritis.” It’s better to quit smoking. Talk to your doctor about ways you can quit smoking and how you can stay smoke-free.
7. Drinking Alcohol
Although moderate drinking may provide some anti-inflammatory benefits, there are many downsides to drinking that can quickly outweigh any potential benefits for those with psoriatic. Mixing alcohol and any other medication can pose a risk. The warnings are especially strong for methotrexate which is a drug that modifies the disease process. It is commonly prescribed to treat psoriatic inflammation. The American College of Rheumatology recommends that methotrexate be taken with alcohol.
Ask your doctor any questions you may have about alcohol consumption or the interaction with your medications for psoriatic arthritis.
8. Stressing Out
Stress can be a trigger for psoriatic arthritis and cause an increase in symptoms such as joint pain. Stress causes your body to release the hormones cortisol and adrenaline, which can cause muscle tension. Efthimiou also says that stress triggers the immune system’s inflammatory response.
To help manage stress and psoriaticarthritis, you can try meditation, yoga, and Tai Chi.
9. Avoiding Sleep Deprivation
Psoriatic arthritis can make it difficult to get a good night’s rest. Efthimiou says that inflammation can lead to a decrease in sleep quality and sleep disturbances from generalized pain and anxiety. A lack of sleep can make managing your condition more difficult and harder.
You should aim to get 7-8 hours sleep each night. To keep your alignment, your mattress should be supportive and comfortable. Your pillow should properly support your neck. Make sure you have a comfortable bed and that your blankets and sheets don’t restrict movement.
10. Worse Clothes
Fashion is fun, but it shouldn’t be at the cost of style, mobility, comfort, and flares.
Wearing restrictive shoes or clothing can cause new disease activity in the affected region, also known as the Koebner Phenomenon. It is important to select shoes that are well-fitted and comfortable. Also, ensure that clothing is easy to put on and take down and doesn’t restrict circulation.
11. Not revealing your feelings
Efthimiou says that there is a strong connection between depression, psoriatic and other conditions. A 2020 study in the journal Rheumatology & Therapy found that depression and anxiety are common in about one third of people with psoriatic. This study shows a strong link between inflammation, depression, and anxiety.
If you’re feeling depressed, don’t hide it. Talk about your depression and seek the help you need. This is both good for your mental health as well as your psoriatic arthritis. Efthimiou says depression is a problem that can affect treatment adherence.
12. Do not advocate for yourself
Efthimiou says to tell your doctor about all of your symptoms, particularly if you have skin lesions. Many people don’t know the difference between psoriasis, and arthritis.
You are the boss of your health. Tell your doctor everything you feel so they can help you find solutions.
Nina Wasserman also contributed additional reporting.