Around 3% of the world’s population has psoriasis, and around 30% of people who have psoriasis develop psoriatic arthritis. More rarely, you can develop psoriatic arthritis first or without having psoriasis at all.
The talented physicians at Rheumatology Solutions treat patients who have psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis. Those with psoriasis often ask if there’s any way to know if they will develop psoriatic arthritis or if there’s a way to prevent it. Researchers continue to investigate, but as of now, we have no way to predict who might develop psoriatic arthritis.
It’s all about inflammation
When you have psoriatic arthritis, you’re likely to experience periods of flare-ups and remission. This means there’ll be periods of time when you have few symptoms and your disease doesn’t progress, or you’re in remission, and periods of time when your joints are tender, swollen, and painful, or flare up.
During a flare-up, the overall level of inflammation in your body is increased, so it’s important to do what you can to reduce it. In some cases, inflammation is caused by specific triggers, some of which are things you can mitigate and some you can’t .
For example, some people experience flare-ups in certain weather conditions. For others, diet can be a trigger, or stressful situations can increase inflammation. Understanding your personal triggers may help you limit inflammation and avert flare-ups.
Making some changes to your lifestyle can help limit psoriatic arthritis flare-ups. For example, people who exercise regularly report higher quality of life overall and fewer flare-ups. Exercise helps reduce stress, as well.
Limiting stress to the degree you can is another useful strategy for avoiding flare-ups. You can’t really do anything about stressful situations. Sometimes you’ll encounter traffic snarls or have conflict at work or at home.
But, you can work on techniques like deep breathing or learn meditation, which can help you respond to those situations more calmly. Limiting your commitments and obligations, scheduling time specifically for relaxation, and making sure you get enough sleep are other ways you can help reduce the impact of stress on your life.
Making sure you consume a healthy diet that includes anti-inflammatory foods and limits those known to increase inflammation can also be helpful. Aim to eat a wide variety of fruits and vegetables, lean protein, and healthy fats. Avoid refined sugar, junk carbohydrates, and fried foods for the most part.
You may find meal planning helpful when it comes to following a healthy diet. Meal planning can help you avoid situations in which you don’t have many good options.
Along with lifestyle changes and a healthy diet, your doctor will likely suggest medications to help treat psoriatic arthritis symptoms and help limit flare-ups. Some common drugs used to treat psoriatic arthritis include:
- Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)
- Disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs (DMARDs)
- JAK inhibitors
Depending on your situation, we may also suggest physical therapy or surgery to repair damage to your joints.
We may not be able to predict who will develop psoriatic arthritis, but we can help you if you do have it. We can work with you to help you make appropriate lifestyle changes, suggest therapies to ease symptoms and limit flare-ups, and offer support.
If you have psoriatic arthritis or suspect that you may develop it, schedule an appointment with the experts at Rheumatology Solutions to discuss your options.