Friday, February 3, 2023

What Causes Psoriatic Arthritis Flare Ups

What Treatment Is Available For Psoriatic Arthritis

Understanding Moderate to Severe Psoriatic Arthritis Flare Ups

It is important that you receive treatment for your psoriatic arthritis, as, otherwise, the condition can severely damage your joints and cause disability.

Treatment of psoriatic arthritis is aimed at relieving pain and reducing inflammation to halt damage to your joints and avoid disability.Medications used in the treatment of psoriatic arthritis are similar to those used for treatment of rheumatoid arthritis, which you can read about here.

How To Treat Psoriatic Arthritis

Just as there is no specific test to diagnose psoriatic arthritis, there is, unfortunately, no treatment either. Psoriatic arthritis cannot be reversed, but there are certain medications, treatment methods, and lifestyle changes that one can undergo to reduce pain and manage symptoms.


Medications, specifically NSAIDs , can be taken to reduce inflammation and relieve associated pain. Various medications, such as Advil, Motrin, and Aleve, are available as over-the-counter NSAIDs.


If NSAIDs dont reduce the inflammation, steroids can be taken orally or through injections to alleviate pain and swelling. Common steroid options include prednisone, cortisone, triamcinolone, betamethasone, and methylprednisolone.


Because psoriatic arthritis limits mobility and joint function, exercise, and physical therapy are also effective methods for relieving symptoms. Exercise, such as swimming, biking, and yoga can help to reduce joint stiffness and increase range of motion.

Hot and Cold Therapy

To reduce inflammation, hot and cold packs can be applied to the affected joints to minimize the redness, swelling, and pain. Psoriatic arthritis symptoms can be reduced by alternating between cold compresses or ice packs and heat wraps or heating pads.

Maintain Healthy Weight

Causes Of Psoriatic Arthritis

Almost 1 in 3 people with psoriasis also have psoriatic arthritis.

It tends to develop 5 to 10 years after psoriasis is diagnosed, although some people may have problems with their joints before they notice any skin-related symptoms.

Like psoriasis, psoriatic arthritis is thought to happen as a result of the immune system mistakenly attacking healthy tissue.

But it’s not clear why some people with psoriasis develop psoriatic arthritis and others do not.

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When To Get Medical Advice

See a GP if you have persistent pain, swelling or stiffness in your joints even if you have not been diagnosed with psoriasis.

If you’ve been diagnosed with psoriasis, you should have check-ups at least once a year to monitor your condition. Make sure you let the doctor know if you’re experiencing any problems with your joints.

Stress Is The Top Psoriatic Arthritis Trigger

Symptoms Of Psoriatic Arthritis Flare Up

The number-one thing patients tell me is that when stress levels go up, they have a flare and more pain, says Alexis Ogdie-Beatty, MD, a rheumatologist at the Perelman Center for Advanced Medicine and an associate professor of medicine at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia.

Why? Stress sets off the immune systems inflammatory response, according to the Arthritis Foundation. Inflammation, in turn, can fuel joint damage in people with psoriatic arthritis and other arthritic conditions.

The longer youre exposed to stress, the worse your psoriatic arthritis symptoms may get.

Another reason stress can create a cycle of pain, then more stress, is that when youre stressed, you tend to sleep less, says Dr. Ogdie-Beatty.

And when you get less sleep, your pain is likely to seem worse.

Stress can also prompt you to engage in unhealthy behaviors like smoking, drinking alcohol, and overeating, which may worsen symptoms.

How to avoid this trigger Stress busters such as yoga and meditation can help ease pain, according to the Arthritis Foundation.

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The Importance Of Treatment

Getting treatment for psoriasis can help reduce symptoms and improve quality of life.

The NPF COVID-19 Task Force recommends that in most cases, people who do not have the coronavirus that causes COVID-19 should continue taking biologic or oral treatments that their doctor has prescribed.

The task force encourages people to avoid long-term systemic steroid use for psoriatic disease if possible. When long-term systemic steroids are necessary, the task force recommends taking the lowest dose possible.

A person should not stop taking any prescribed medications without speaking with their doctor first. A healthcare professional can help them understand the potential benefits and risks of changing their treatment plan.

People should let their doctor know if they have felt frequently stressed, worried, angry, sad, or disinterested in things they usually care about. These may be signs of anxiety or depression.

Their doctor may prescribe antidepressants or refer them to a mental health specialist for support.

Are Triggers Causing Your Psoriasis Flare

If your psoriasis seems to flare for no reason, one or more triggers could be to blame. Everyday things like stress, a bug bite, and cold temperatures can trigger psoriasis.

Triggers vary from person to person. By finding your triggers and learning how to manage them, you can gain better control of your psoriasis and have fewer flares.

To find yours, youll have to do a bit of detective work. A good place to start is by looking at this chart of the common triggers, which also gives you signs that that it could be a trigger for you.

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Treatment For Psoriatic Arthritis

Treatment for psoriatic arthritis aims to:

  • relieve symptoms
  • slow the condition’s progression
  • improve quality of life

This usually involves trying a number of different medicines, some of which can also treat the psoriasis. If possible, you should take 1 medicine to treat both your psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis.

The main medicines used to treat psoriatic arthritis are:

  • non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs
  • biological therapies

What Are Beneficial Diet Plans For Psoriatic Arthritis

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Youre no stranger to the fact that there are multiple diet plans in the market. These include fad diets, low-carb diets, heart healthy diets, lemonade diets, juice diets, and the list goes on. Is there a specific diet plan for individuals living with psoriatic arthritis to follow? There are several, actually.

  • Paleo diet: Also known as the Caveman Diet, the Paleo diet avoids grains, nuts, processed foods, and dairy. Key staples of the Paleo diet include fish, eggs, meat, fruits and vegetables . The benefits of this type of diet for individuals living with psoriatic arthritis is that the main staples of the Paleo diet can reduce swelling often caused by processed and sugary foods and dairy.
  • Anti-inflammatory diet: One of the most prevalent symptoms of psoriatic arthritis is joint inflammation. Eating foods with anti-inflammatory properties can reduce swelling. Fatty fish, leafy greens, and a variety of fruits are great food choices for less inflammation.
  • Weight loss diet: To lose weight, you need to limit your intake of carbohydrates, sugars, and fats. Keeping your weight down keeps pressure off of your joints. Additionally, individuals who are overweight tend to have more severe forms of arthritis and are more prone to develop psoriatic arthritis.

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What Foods Should I Eat

When it comes to psoriatic arthritis, many of the foods on the good list are the same types found on other types of healthy diet lists such as for heart health, diabetes, and cancer. Many of these foods have the effect of decreasing inflammation. Naturally, since joint inflammation is a major symptom of psoriatic arthritis, these types of foods are beneficial for people who have this disease.

What should you eat to decrease inflammation? As a starting base, your diet should include:

  • Vegetables
  • Legumes

When cooking, use healthy oils, such as extra virgin olive oil or avocado oil. Great herbs to use include ginger and turmeric, which are also noted for their anti-inflammatory properties.

Many of the foods listed for helping to improve psoriatic arthritis are ones with anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. The following list of foods are known for just that.

  • Avocado: This fruit is one of the best healthy fats out there. Avocados are high in potassium, beta-carotene, and Vitamins C, E, and K.
  • Greens: Leafy greens, including collards, spinach, kale, Swiss chard, and beet greens are great anti-oxidant and Vitamin K boosters.
  • Fatty fish: Anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids are the key in fatty fish. Try trout and salmon as part of your psoriatic arthritis diet.

Boost Your Antioxidant Intake

Load up on colorful fruits and veggies to boost your antioxidant intake and give your body the nutrients it needs to thrive. According to the NPF, colorful fruits and veggies have been shown to reduce inflammation. Theyre also rich in vitamin C, vitamin A, and other nutrients.

Some nutritious choices include carrots, squash, sweet potatoes, spinach, broccoli, blueberries, strawberries, figs, and mangos.

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Employ Some Life Hacks

Crow also advises taking shortcuts that can make living with PsA flares easier. These life hacks can help minimize fatigue or joint pain, she says. If your joints hurt, you can change the stuff you are using in your daily life for example, if your hands hurt, you can use a wide-grip fork while eating. You can also change how you interact with stuff, such as choosing to have grocery delivery rather than exerting the energy required to go to the store and bag all the items yourself.

What Is Psoriatic Arthritis

Symptoms of psoriatic arthritis flare

Youve likely heard of psoriasis. And youve likely heard of arthritis. But, have you ever heard of psoriatic arthritis? If you havent, you should. Its one of the most common types of arthritis, right behind osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. Although all three types of arthritis have overlapping symptoms, one of the most distinguishing characteristics of psoriatic arthritis is that 85% of individuals living with this disease also have psoriasis.

Equally affecting men and women, psoriatic arthritis most often has an onset in adults between the ages of 30 and 50. While juvenile psoriatic arthritis can occur, it is far less common. Does this mean if you have psoriasis that you will also develop psoriatic arthritis? Not necessarily, but your chances do increase significantly. Around 30% of individuals who experience psoriasis will go on to develop psoriatic arthritis.

The symptoms of psoriatic arthritis include the classic joint pain and inflammation. But, individuals living with the disease may develop problems such as tendonitis, generalized fatigue, dactylitis , heel pain, back pain, nail pitting, and reduced joint mobility. While there are five different types of psoriatic arthritis, the most common type affects joints asymmetrically. In contrast, rheumatoid arthritis typically affects joints symmetrically that is, the same joints on both sides of the body.

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What Medical Treatments Should I Try

If your symptoms dont respond to at-home treatments and are getting worse, its best talk with your doctor about trying a new medication.

Though there has been rapid growth in PsA treatments, none of them are 100 percent effective for 100 percent of people.

One research review showed that in many trials, only half of the participants experienced a 20 percent improvement in symptoms with treatment. This doesnt mean treatment wont work for you, but it may take a few tries before you find the right strategy.

Asymmetrical Joint Pain And Swelling

With psoriatic arthritis, stiffness, pain and throbbing of your joints is par for the course. Typically psoriatic arthritis will present asymmetrically in your joints: one joint may flare up but not the other. For instance, my left sacroiliac joint and knee and my right wrist and elbow are most commonly affected. Each psoriatic arthritic patient will have different joints affected, so be on the lookout for which of your joints are your main culprits.

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Certain Medications May Lead To Flares

Several drugs that are commonly taken to treat other medical conditions can exacerbate psoriatic arthritis symptoms, says Ogdie-Beatty.

Lithium, for instance, which is used to treat bipolar disorder, can aggravate psoriasis conditions that are especially resistant to treatment. Antimalaria drugs, including chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine , can also trigger a bout of psoriasis.

Inderal , a beta-blocker used to treat high blood pressure and other conditions, such as tremors and anxiety, also may worsen psoriasis.

Other drugs that can lead to flares include some antibiotics benzodiazepines like the anti-anxiety drug Xanax and even NSAIDs commonly used to treat pain, such as ibuprofen.

Also, be very careful about using the steroid medication prednisone, warns Ogdie-Beatty. When patients come off it, it can cause a bad flare, she says.

How to avoid this trigger Be sure to tell your doctor about any prescription or over-the-counter medications or supplements you are taking in case your psoriatic arthritis treatment plan requires an adjustment.

What Treatment Is Right For Me

Whats Psoriatic Arthritis?

The type of treatment will depend on how severe your symptoms are at the time of diagnosis with the goal being to control the disease to the point of remission and avoid complications. Medications may need to be changed over time to continue to maintain control and avoid disease progression and systemic effects. Some early indicators of more severe disease include onset at a young age, multiple joint involvement, and spinal involvement. Good control of the skin is important in the management of psoriatic arthritis. In many cases, you may be seen by two different types of healthcare providers, one in rheumatology and one in dermatology.

Early diagnosis and treatment can relieve pain and inflammation and help prevent progressive joint involvement and damage. Without treatment psoriatic arthritis can potentially be disabling, cause chronic pain, affect quality of life, and increase risk of heart disease. It is important to update your healthcare provider when you have a change in symptoms or if your medication regimen is no longer effective.

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Who Will Be Responsible For My Healthcare

Youre likely to see a team of healthcare professionals.

Your doctor, usually a rheumatologist, will be responsible for your overall care. And a specialist nurse may help monitor your condition and treatments. A skin specialist called a dermatologist may be responsible for the treatment of your psoriasis.

You may also see:

  • a physiotherapist, who can advise on exercises to help maintain your mobility
  • an occupational therapist, who can help you protect your joints, for example, by using splints for the wrist or knee braces. You may be advised to change the way you do some tasks to reduce the strain on your joints.
  • a podiatrist, who can assess your footcare needs and offer advice on special insoles and good supportive footwear.

Psoriatic Arthritis Symptom Quiz

Take the short quiz below to find out if you have psoriatic arthritis symptoms or other factors that may be associated with psoriatic arthritis. Then share the results with your doctor.

Please note: This quiz is not meant to diagnose patients with psoriatic arthritis. Talk to your doctor about your results.

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Complications Of Psoriatic Arthritis

Joint damage is the main complication of psoriatic arthritis, but the condition has several comorbidities. Be mindful of the following:

Eye conditions, such as uveitis, or inflammation of the eye

Anxiety and depression

Gastrointestinal problems such as irritable bowel syndrome , Crohn’s disease, and ulcerative colitis

What Are Foods That Trigger Psoriatic Arthritis Symptoms

What Causes A Psoriatic Arthritis Flare Up

Now that you know what you should be eating, lets talk about what you should be avoiding if you are living with psoriatic arthritis. While the above list of foods are noted for their anti-inflammatory properties, there are foods that are known for just the opposite. That is, they are known to cause inflammation. Naturally, these are just the types of foods you should avoid if you are living with psoriatic arthritis.

Saturated fats, sugar, alcohol, and simple carbohydrates are all triggers for psoriatic arthritis symptoms to flare up. Theyre also key factors in weight gain and obesity. As your weight increases, the stress on your joints also increases, so it goes hand in hand that keeping your weight down is beneficial for managing psoriatic arthritis.

Whats on the bad food list for individuals living with psoriatic arthritis?

  • Processed meats
  • Alcohol
  • Candy
  • Fried foods

Similarly, the foods on this list are ones that you would find on many lists for foods to avoid. It is only natural that our bodies do well with more nutrient-dense foods than ones that are processed, enriched, and full of sugar.

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Can Psoriatic Arthritis Affect Other Parts Of The Body

Having psoriatic arthritis can put you at risk of developing other conditions and complications around the body.

The chances of getting one of these are rare. But its worth knowing about them and talking to your doctor if you have any concerns.


Seek urgent medical attention if one or both of your eyes are red and painful, particularly if you have a change in your vision. You could go to your GP, an eye hospital, or your local A& E department.

These symptoms could be caused by a condition called uveitis, which is also known as iritis. It involves inflammation at the front of the eye.

This can permanently damage your eyesight if left untreated.

Other symptoms are:

  • blurred or cloudy vision
  • sensitivity to light
  • not being able to see things at the side of your field of vision known as a loss of peripheral vision
  • small shapes moving across your field of vision.

These symptoms can come on suddenly, or gradually over a few days. It can affect one or both eyes. It can be treated effectively with steroids.


Psoriatic arthritis can put you at a slightly higher risk of having a heart condition. You can reduce your risk by:

  • not smoking
  • staying at a healthy weight
  • exercising regularly
  • eating a healthy diet, thats low in fat, sugar and salt
  • not drinking too much alcohol.

These positive lifestyle choices can help to improve your arthritis and skin symptoms.

Talk to your doctor if you have any concerns about your heart health.

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