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5 Mistakes to Avoid When Living With Psoriatic Arthritis

Avoid these missteps and take a proactive role in managing psoriatic arthritis and psoriasis.

5 Mistakes to Avoid When Living With Psoriatic Arthritis

If you are living with psoriatic disease it is important that you take a proactive role in managing the condition. While there is no cure for psoriatic disease, there are effective treatments available that can help control inflammation, prevent complications, and allow you to keep doing the things you enjoy.

Being proactive means taking the right steps and avoiding the wrong ones. Here, we look at five mistakes to avoid when living with psoriasis and/or psoriatic arthritis.

Working with the wrong healthcare providers
Psoriasis is typically treated by a dermatologist, a healthcare provider that specializes in treating conditions that affect the skin. People who have psoriatic arthritis may also work with a rheumatologist, a healthcare provider that specializes in treating musculoskeletal disorders.

However, working with the right healthcare providers means more than just working with healthcare providers who have the right specialty. You need to work with a healthcare provider you feel comfortable with, who takes your concerns seriously, and who understands what you want to get out of treatment. Psoriasis skin symptoms can be embarrassing to talk about. Arthritis symptoms can be invisible and pain can be difficult to describe.

If you feel that your healthcare provider is not a good fit, consider making an appointment with a different healthcare provider. It’s okay if it takes a little work to find someone you feel confident in and comfortable with.

Not exercising
Psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis can make it challenging to stay physically active. Visible skin symptoms can make the idea of wearing athletic clothing very unappealing. Stiff, swollen joints can make exercise difficult. And fatigue is a common symptom of psoriatic disease.

But it is important to try to stay as active as possible. Start by talking to your healthcare provider about how to exercise safely. Depending on your fitness level, your healthcare provider may recommend working with a physical or occupational therapist.

Some forms of exercise may be too hard on the joints and may lead to injury or worsen joint damage. Choose low-impact activities like yoga, tai chi, and water-based exercises that can help you maintain joint mobility and muscle strength. Getting outside for a walk is beneficial to cardiovascular health and may also lower stress.

Giving up on treatment
Many people who have psoriatic disease go untreated or undertreated, for a variety of reasons. If you have lapsed on your treatment, make an appointment with your healthcare provider and discuss why your previous treatment or treatments did not work for you. There are a number of different treatment options available. Remember that your healthcare provider is there to help you find a solution that works.

Neglecting other areas of your health
While psoriasis may seem all-encompassing, remember that it is just one aspect of your overall physical and mental wellbeing. People who have psoriatic disease have an increased risk for other serious health conditions, including cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, gastrointestinal conditions, and depression.

It’s important to see a primary care physician to monitor for and address things like blood pressure, cholesterol levels, and blood sugar. Your primary care physician can also help with things like making changes to your diet, maintaining a healthy weight, and quitting habits that can damage your health, such as smoking and consuming excess quantities of alcohol.

Neglecting mental health
To be proactive in your treatment, you need to be in the right frame of mind. Unfortunately, psoriatic disease is a significant mental and emotional burden. If you are experiencing stress, anxiety, depression, stigma, or other negative emotions and moods, talk to a healthcare provider. Addressing the mental and emotional impact of psoriatic disease is recognized as an important aspect of treatment.

Medically reviewed in December 2020.

Sources:
National Psoriasis Foundation. "Understanding Psoriatic Disease."
UpToDate. "Patient education: Psoriasis (Beyond the Basics)."
Whan B. Kim, Dana Jerome and Jensen Yeung. "Diagnosis and management of psoriasis." Official Publication of The College of Family Physicians of Canada, 2017. Vol. 63, No. 4.
American Academy of Dermatology Association. "Psoriatic Arthritis: Diagnosis and Treatment."
National Institute on Aging. "How to Choose a Doctor You Can Talk To."
Klaudia Dopytalska, Piotr Sobolewski, Agata Blaszczak, Elzbieta Szymanska, and Irena Walecka. "Psoriasis in special localizations." Reumatologia, 2018. Vol. 56, No. 6.
HealthGrades. "But You Don't Look Sick: Perception Vs. Reality With Psoriatic Arthritis."
Psoriatic-arthritis.com. "Frustrated, Fatigued, and Fighting for Pain-Free Days."
Robert C. Coghill. "Individual Differences in the Subjective Experience of Pain: New Insights into Mechanisms and Models." Headache, 2010. Vol. 50, No. 9.
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The Psoriasis and Psoriatic Arthritis Alliance. "Keeping active."
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