9 Ways to Manage Fatigue With Psoriatic Arthritisby Tracy Davenport, Ph.D. Health Writer
Thanks to some amazing advocacy efforts, people are starting to understand that psoriatic arthritis involves the skin and joints. What many do not know is that psoriatic arthritis can also affect other systems of the body. As a result of this full body assault, as many as 50 percent of patients with psoriatic arthritis have moderate-to-severe fatigue according to the National Psoriasis Foundation. If you are living with fatigue, here are strategies to make each day the best it can be.
Discover the reasons for your fatigue
Fatigue is complex and can be related to physical, psychological, and social reasons at the same time. Chronic inflammation may be a contributor, but there may also be other factors at play. Discussing the severity and frequency of your fatigue with your doctor can be the first step in discovering the causes.
Maximize your psoriatic arthritis treatment
Few of us want to take more medication than we absolutely need to. However, if you are living with psoriatic arthritis, staying on a treatment plan that keeps your symptoms in remission is an important strategy. In at least 11 studies, those who were on biologics for psoriasis or psoriatic arthritis treatment reported reduced fatigue.
Eat a well-balanced diet
While the exact causes of fatigue related to psoriatic arthritis are unknown, there are certain foods that can make us feel more fatigued than others. Foods that are overly processed and high in sugar can make us feel tired. Since psoriatic disease is an inflammatory condition, it is important to eat as many anti-inflammatory foods as possible. Fruits and vegetables rich in nutrients and antioxidants are known to decrease inflammation and can easily be added into your daily routine.
Get checked for anemia
According to Johns Hopkins Medicine Health Library, anemia can be common with psoriatic arthritis and can contribute to fatigue. If your doctor suspects you are anemic, you may be asked to complete lab tests where they will check your blood for the level of red blood cells contained in your blood. If you are found to be anemic, your treatment will depend on the cause but could be as simple as taking an iron supplement.
Maintain a healthy weight
Being overweight means your body has to work harder just to accomplish the simplest of tasks. Throughout the day, this can make you feel more tired than if you were at an ideal body weight. Being overweight can also make you less likely to exercise and feel more depressed. Your weight might not be the cause of your fatigue, but losing as much excess weight as possible could improve your overall energy level.
Talk to someone if you feel depressed
Depression and fatigue go hand in hand. People with psoriatic arthritis are at a greater risk of depression according to the National Psoriasis Foundation. The reasons for depression may go beyond the obvious discomfort and uncertainty of the disease. Scientists are now exploring a link between the inflammatory response and depression. Treating the immune response may have a direct, biomechanical effect on depression. Communicating how you are feeling can put you on the path to more energy.
Get enough sleep
There is a bidirectional relationship between sleep and pain. This means that sleep can be interrupted by pain, and pain can be made worse by sleep interruptions. If you suspect that you are not getting adequate sleep due to your psoriatic arthritis, you may want to keep a sleep diary. The results of your diary can then be discussed with your doctor for further evaluation or help getting the rest your body needs.
Only one in five Americans are getting enough exercise. If you are living with fatigue, exercising may be one of the last things you want to do each day. However, physical activity can play an important role in your disease management and overall well-being if you have psoriatic arthritis. If your joints are stiff and sore, you may have to modify what exercises you do at least for a while. Your rheumatologist will have suggestions for you on how to get started with a regular exercise program.
Give yourself a break
We live in a nonstop society where resting can be seen as a sign of weakness or inadequacy. However, taking a break between activities can give your mind and body a chance to recover and rejuvenate so you can perform the next task to the best of your abilities. Planning rest breaks, setting boundaries, and really listening to our bodies are all part of a healthy strategy to employ.