Lifestyle Changes to Help Prevent Psoriatic Arthritis Flares

by Tracy Davenport, Ph.D. Health Writer

If you have psoriatic arthritis, you may experience times when your symptoms get worse. These are known as flare-ups in the disease. Flare-ups cannot always be avoided, but there are things you can do to minimize the frequency of psoriatic arthritis flares and feel your best.

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Be in tune with your body

Taking exceptional care of your body will help you know how good you can feel. Once you are in tune with feeling great, you will be more likely to know when you are beginning to not feel well. By recognizing the early signs of a flare-up, you can put measures in place like extra rest for fast recovery.

Doctor giving patient sample medication.
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Be sensitive to medications you are taking

Medications for other conditions can impact your psoriatic arthritis and cause a flare-up. If you start a new medication, be sure to note any changes to your psoriatic arthritis and let your doctor know if you suspect it is causing a flare-up.

Man in doctors office, getting check up.
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Keep in touch with your doctor

According to the Arthritis Foundation, one of the best ways to achieve low disease activity is to keep in close communication with your doctor. Especially in the early phases of the disease, your doctor can determine if you are responding well to your treatment and then re-evaluate and make necessary changes to get the condition under control quickly.

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Continue your treatments

If your psoriatic arthritis treatments are successful and you begin to feel really good, it may be tempting to discontinue your medication or other treatments. However, remember that psoriatic arthritis does not get cured, it only goes into remission. If you discontinue your treatments without the advice of your doctor, you could cause your symptoms to flare-up.

Man stretching shoulder.
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Exercise

Psoriatic arthritis can lead to swelling and stiffness in the joints. Putting your joints through a full range of movement can help prevent stiffness. In addition, exercise can strengthen the muscles around the joints, which will ultimately help your joint health. Exercise has also been shown to reduce stress and improve mood, which could reduce flares and make you feel better overall.

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Explore yoga

Yoga is a combination of different gentle exercises, breathing techniques, and meditation that has been around for thousands of years. According to the National Psoriasis Foundation, yoga can help ease psoriatic arthritis pain. Yoga is also credited with improving sleep, improving mood, and reducing stress.

Checking weight on bathroom scale.
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Watch your weight

Losing weight can reduce disease severity. People who are overweight may experience a double dose of inflammation. Fat cells secrete many of the same substances involved in psoriatic disease, so even if an overweight person takes psoriatic arthritis medication, the extra body weight may prevent the medication from working.

Fruits, vegetables and fish on blue wood table.
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Choose anti-inflammatory foods

Psoriatic disease is an inflammatory condition. Therefore, an important component of keeping flare-ups to a minimum is decreasing your inflammation. Diets that are fruit- and vegetable-based and include fish oil supplements have been shown to reduce inflammation.

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Manage your stress

Psoriatic arthritis can be stressful. Unfortunately, additional stress can make your psoriatic arthritis worse. Research suggests that treatment to address your stress can improve your condition. Spending time with friends and family, exercising, and resting when you need to are all ways to decrease stress levels.

Broken cigarette on calendar, marked quit today.
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Quit smoking

According to the U. S. Department of Health and Human Services, cigarette smoke is a mix of more than 7,000 toxic chemicals. It is no surprise that it can make your psoriatic arthritis worse. Researchers have found that compared with non-smoking psoriatic arthritis patients, smoking psoriatic arthritis patients had worse disease and a poorer response to treatment.

Tracy Davenport, Ph.D.
Meet Our Writer
Tracy Davenport, Ph.D.

Davenport is the founder of Tracyshealthyliving.com. Using the latest scientific research, she helps people live their healthiest lives via one-on-one coaching, corporate talks, and sharing the more than 1,000 health-related articles she's authored.