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Does Your Psoriatic Arthritis Care Work for You?

Reviewed by Brunilda Nazario, MD on October 07, 2020

Psoriatic arthritis treatment has come a long way since doctors first recognized the condition in the 1950s. These days, your doctor can help you figure out how to ease symptoms and prevent joint damage.

Your plan probably will involve medicine, exercise, a healthy diet, and stress management.

There are medicines that treat psoriatic arthritis. Your doctor will decide exactly what you need. It may take some time to find the drugs that work best for you.

If you’ve noticed any of the following things, let your doctor know. They’ll look for solutions that’ll help you feel better.

1. Side Effects Bother You

Many meds that treat psoriatic arthritis make a big difference, but they all have risks. 

For instance, NSAIDs (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, like naproxen or ibuprofen) can make stomach irritation and bleeding more likely. Methotrexate, which is prescribed for many types of arthritis, can damage the liver. And because medicines called biologics work on your immune system, they can make serious infections more likely. 

Let your doctor know if you have side effects from your medication.

2. Your Symptoms Make Your Job or Daily Life Hard

This can mean different things for different people. 

If you're a college professor and your treatment gets rid of all your symptoms except two swollen finger joints, you might be OK with that. But if you're a concert violinist who relies on those joints for a living, those same symptoms could be a show-stopper. 

Tell your doctor what you need to keep up with your day-to-day activities.  

3. You Don’t Feel Any Better

Some drugs may take a few weeks before you start to feel an improvement. So give your medicine a chance to help. 

But let your doctor know if your symptoms don’t improve or they get worse. They’ll figure out what’s best for you.  

Psoriatic Arthritis: What You Need to Know About BiologicsA doctor shares what you need to consider before starting a biologic injectable to treat your painful joints.90

Folashade Alade, MD When

starting a biologic

for psoriatic arthritis,

it's important to know

Are you up to date

on your vaccinations?

Have you had your pneumonia

vaccine?

Have you had your flu vaccines?

Have you had your shingles

vaccines?

As much as possible,

you want to get all that done.



The other thing we look at

is what other medications are

you on.

Do you have a disease that

doesn't allow you to take

this injectable?

So those are things we need

to keep in mind before we even

start.



A patient would not

be a candidate for injectables

if they've had cancer

within the last 5 years,

because you do not want

to reactivate this process.

If you've had congestive heart

failure, because it could make

it worse.

If you have a current infection,

you cannot take an injectable.

That infection needs to be

cleared.



When you start an injectable

or continuing a medicine,

you always have to lessen

infection, infection, infection,

infection.

So things like handwashing

on a regular basis, you're not

ingesting something that's not

supposed to be there that will

cause you to have an infection.

Where possible,

avoid large crowds,

because people have

other infections going on,

and you could pick up something

that you're not supposed to.

Avoiding raw food, raw eggs,

because they have salmonella,

and raw seafood,

it's not a good idea.

Again, trying to lower

concerns about infection.

Folashade Alade, MD./delivery/aws/6c/cc/6ccc08d5-99ea-3f7e-887f-34d5acb2afb6/091e9c5e81ddab49_funded-expert-feature-psa-what-you-need-to-know-biologics_,4500k,2500k,1000k,750k,400k,.mp401/02/2020 12:00:0018001200photo of doctor/webmd/consumer_assets/site_images/article_thumbnails/video/psa_biologics_facts_video/1800x1200_psa_biologics_facts_video.jpg091e9c5e81ddab49

 

4. You’re Extremely Tired

This is a common side effect of psoriatic arthritis. It’s also a side effect of many meds that treat it. Your condition may also cause anemia, which leads to fatigue. 

If you feel more tired than usual, tell your doctor so they can find out what’s causing it and how to fix it.

How to Manage Psoriatic Arthritis Fatigue A long-term condition can leave you feeling tired. Here are a few ways to boost your energy.88

If your psoriatic arthritis is

making you feel exhausted,

here are a few tips on managing

your fatigue.

Ongoing pain can make you feel

fatigued.

Adding exercise to your routine

can help ease your discomfort

by loosening up your joints.



But it also boosts your energy.

Walking, swimming,

and warm-water exercises may be

easy on your joints.

You may want to try the flowing,

circular movement of tai chi.

Strength training can ease pain,

too, especially if you have

arthritis.

That's because the stronger

your muscles are,

the less your joints have

to work.

Talk to your doctor about what

exercises may be good for you.



Next, keep your stress in check.

Too much tension can zap

your energy.

Practicing mindfulness

and having good sleep habits

can help.



A healthy diet can ease

your inflammation, which can

boost your energy level.

Cut back on foods like sugar

and the trans fats

found in fried foods.

Stay away from refined carbs

like crackers and white bread.

Try a Mediterranean diet that

includes fish such as salmon,

sardines, and tuna.

Snack on nuts and seeds

like walnuts, pistachios,

and almonds.

And bulk up

on vitamin K-rich veggies

like broccoli, spinach,

and kale.



When you have

a long-term condition,

you may sometimes feel

depressed or anxious.

These feelings can actually make

you feel tired.

Talk to a loved one

or your doctor

about your feelings,

and you may find it

helpful to talk to a therapist.

Some studies show talk therapy

can even help you get a better

night's sleep.

Arthritis Foundation: "How to Beat Arthritis Fatigue," "8 Food Ingredients That Can Cause Inflammation," "The Ultimate Arthritis Diet."<br>National Psoriasis Foundation: "Living with Psoriatic Arthritis," "Fatigue and Psoriatic Arthritis."<br>Mayo Clinic: "Strength training: Get stronger, leaner, healthier," "Stress relievers: Tips to tame stress."<br>National Institutes of Health: "Resistance training is medicine: Effects of strength training on health," "Laughter prescription," "Mitigating Cellular Inflammation in Older Adults: A Randomized Controlled Trial of Tai Chi Chih," "Fatigue -- an underestimated symptom in psoriatic arthritis," "Cognitive Behavioral Therapy vs. Tai Chi for Late Life Insomnia and Inflammatory Risk: A Randomized Controlled Comparative Efficacy Trial."/delivery/aws/e7/27/e727b71c-2dfa-3a20-a463-0ac1cb53536c/091e9c5e81ddb1dd_funded-vo-feature-how-to-manage-psoriatic-arthritis-fatigue_,4500k,2500k,1000k,750k,400k,.mp401/02/2020 12:00:00650350how to manage psoriatic arthritis fatigue/webmd/consumer_assets/site_images/article_thumbnails/video/funded_vo_feature_how_to_manage_psoriatic_arthritis_fatigue_video/650x350_funded_vo_feature_how_to_manage_psoriatic_arthritis_fatigue_video.jpg091e9c5e81ddb1dd

5. The Psoriasis You See on Your Skin Is Still There

Ask your doctor if there’s a medicine you can put on your skin to help.

6. Certain Joints, Especially Your Knees, Are Still Swollen or Painful

You might need a corticosteroid shot to ease inflammation in a specific joint. Physical therapy also helps.

Even if your joints feel less sore, it’s important to keep track of swelling and inflammation. It can mean your joints are being harmed. If the swelling doesn’t go down after you’ve taken your meds for a while, ask your doctor what else you can do to prevent more damage.

7. You Have a Joint That Isn’t Improving

In some cases, your condition can cause extreme joint damage. If this happens to you, your doctor may suggest surgery to repair it.

8. You're Depressed

Psoriatic arthritis and all that comes with it can affect your mood. If you’ve felt down for more than a few weeks, tell your doctor. They can tell you how you can start feeling like yourself again. This may include talking with a professional counselor and, in some cases, taking medicine.

 

9. Your Symptoms Go Away (Called Remission)

Your symptoms will come and go, so you may be able to take less medication when you’re feeling better. Ask your doctor about taking a drug holiday. Don't stop taking medication on your own.

WebMD Medical Reference

Sources

SOURCES:

American College of Rheumatology.

National Psoriasis Foundation.

Philip Mease, MD, Seattle Rheumatology Associates.

John Hardin, MD, chief scientific officer, Arthritis Foundation; professor of medicine, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, New York City.

Arthritis Foundation.

Mark Lebwohl, MD, professor and chairman of dermatology, Mount Sinai School of Medicine.

Johns Hopkins Arthritis Center.

Tilling, L. Clinical Drug Investigation, 2006.

FDA.

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