For people with psoriatic arthritis, fatigue is more than just an energy drain after a long day at work. It’s a serious symptom that can affect quality of life. You and your doctor may have to work to find its exact cause and decide how to treat it.
Psoriatic arthritis is a disease where your body makes proteins, called cytokines, that cause inflammation. This makes your joints swell and become painful or stiff.
These proteins may also cause fatigue, although doctors aren’t sure why. One thought is that when your psoriatic arthritis flares up, the cytokines trigger your immune system to go haywire. Instead of making chemicals to fight infection, it attacks your joints. Fatigue may be a result of your body using its energy for this process.
The joint pain and skin rashes that can come with this type of arthritis may keep you from sleeping at night, causing fatigue the next day. If you have problems falling or staying asleep, talk to your doctor. Sleep medications may help you get more rest.
Lifestyle Can Add to Fatigue
A healthy lifestyle can help you handle fatigue. When you have psoriatic arthritis, it’s important to manage your weight, stay active, avoid smoking, and take your medications. When your inflammation is out of control, you may feel more tired.
Unhealthy snacks. Eating candy and refined starches like potato chips may give you a quick boost, but then sap your energy later.
Out-of-control stress. If you feel anxious and tense, you may not sleep well at night. Stress can drain all your energy.
Too much coffee.Caffeine may give you a morning jump-start, but it only lasts a short time. Drinking it too late in the day may make it hard to fall asleep at night.
Gadgets at bedtime. Don’t use a backlit device like a smartphone or tablet before bedtime. The light tells your brain to stay awake.
Alcohol. While a nightcap may help you relax, alcohol can make it hard to stay asleep.
Missing your meds. Take your drugs as prescribed by your doctor. They will help control the inflammation that may cause fatigue.
Drugs and Other Causes
Fatigue can also be a side effect of some drugs used to treat psoriatic arthritis. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, or NSAIDs, may make you feel drowsy. NSAIDs include ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) and naproxen sodium (Aleve). Some painkillers, like tramadol, may also have this effect.
Other health problems could be causing your fatigue. These include:
Restless legs syndrome
Talk to your doctor if you have one of these health problems and feel fatigued. If you can’t figure out what’s causing it, you may need tests to rule out other diseases.