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Psoriatic Arthritis

Psoriatic Arthritis

See your doctor if you have joint pain   or tenderness. Your doctor should be consulted for skin or nail problems as well.

Self-Care at Home

If your doctor prescribes a no steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID), such as ibuprofen (Motrin, Ibuprin, Advil, Excedrin IB), and you have morning stiffness, the best time to take the drug may be in the evening after dinner and again when you wake up. Taking these medications with food will reduce stomach upset. Do not take them within an hour of bedtime.

Exercise is important to keep the pain and swelling of arthritis   to a minimum. A good exercise program can improve movement, strengthen muscles to stabilize joints, improve sleep, strengthen the heart, increase stamina, reduce weight  , and improve physical appearance.

Usually, a normal amount of rest and sleep will help to reduce joint inflammation and fatigue. In a few people, psoriatic arthritis can cause extreme fatigue.

Heat and cold treatments can temporarily reduce pain and joint swelling. You might try soaking in a warm tub or placing a warm compress or cold pack on the painful joint.

Other Therapy

Conventional therapy for psoriasis has been tested with clinical trials. The FDA has approved conventional drugs for the treatment of psoriasis. Some look to alternative therapy  , diet changes, supplements, or stress reducing techniques to help reduce symptoms. For the most part, alternative therapies have not been tested with clinical trials, and the FDA has not approved dietary supplements for treatment of psoriasis. However, the National Psoriasis Foundation does discuss some other therapies on their Web site. Individuals should check with their doctors before starting any therapy.

Follow-up

If you have symptoms of psoriatic arthritis, a consultation with a rheumatologist (one who specializes in arthritis) is helpful.

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Prevention

Various medications can cause psoriasis to worsen. Try to avoid these medications to minimize flare-ups. Lithium and withdrawal from systemic corticosteroids (a steroid treatment that affects the whole body) both are well known to cause flare-ups. Beta-blockers, ant malarial drugs, and NSAIDs may also cause flare-ups.

Additional preventative steps for psoriasis flare-ups include the following:

  • Avoiding environmental factors that trigger psoriasis, such as smoking, sun exposure, and stress, may help prevent or minimize flare-ups of psoriasis. Sun exposure may help in many cases of psoriasis and aggravate it in others.
  • Alcohol is considered a risk factor for psoriasis in young to middle-aged men. Avoid or minimize alcohol use if you have psoriasis.
  • Specific dietary restrictions or supplements other than a well-balanced and adequate diet are unimportant in the management of plaque psoriasis.
Outlook

Psoriatic arthritis tends to alternate between flare-ups and periods of improvement. It leads to joint damage and severe disability in many of the people it affects. Some people may need surgery.

The following factors influence how severe your psoriatic arthritis will be:

  • Clinical pattern (see Symptoms)
  • Symptoms beginning when you are young
  • Severity of skin symptoms
  • Female sex
  • Family history of arthritis

Rarely, complications such as joint dislocations of the neck and leaking of the heart valves may occur.

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