Millions of Americans are living with psoriatic arthritis (PsA). Psoriatic arthritis is a chronic condition that can result in pain and discomfort. It may also greatly impact your daily routine and quality of life. While there is no cure for this condition, there are steps you can take to live a healthy life despite the challenges you may face.1 This article will provide you with practical tips to help you live with and manage psoriatic arthritis.
Understand Your Diagnosis
It is important to understand what is happening in your body and why. Psoriatic arthritis is a chronic condition that results in skin lesions and painful joints. While it may be easier to identify symptoms of a flare such as pain or skin changes, you should also be aware of symptoms like fatigue, anxiety, stress, and sleep changes which may also occur.2
As you navigate your life with psoriatic arthritis, you should challenge yourself to be a lifelong learner when it comes to your condition. Understanding your diagnosis will help empower you to educate your family and friends so that they can be a source of support.
Know Your Triggers
A psoriatic arthritis flare occurs when you notice worsening or more frequently occurring symptoms.3 Some common triggers associated with psoriatic arthritis flares are medication changes, skin infection or injury including sunburn, eating certain foods, weight gain and stress.2,3 Keeping track of your symptoms and lifestyle changes can help you be proactive and identify your triggers.2 For example, if you notice worsening PsA symptoms every time you eat beef or pork, this may be a food trigger and a sign to avoid eating red meat. Make it a goal to know and be able to identify your own personal triggers so that you can better manage them.3 Keeping a journal or log with important details regarding your diagnosis may be beneficial, and there are even apps dedicated to symptom and flare tracking.
Partner With Your Provider
You may work with a specialist such as a rheumatologist or a dermatologist (or both) to help manage your PsA.4 Finding a provider who you trust and feel comfortable communicating with openly is a major component of navigating your diagnosis. It is also important that your provider understands how PsA may impact Black patients differently and how symptoms may appear on darker skin tones. It may take some time to find a provider that is a good match for you, but don’t get discouraged. PsA is commonly misdiagnosed, so partnering with your provider is crucial in ensuring your voice is heard. Your care team can also assist with a wide range of other issues such as inadequate treatment, managing side effects, and referrals to other providers or specialists.
Advocate for yourself
Advocating for yourself may look different from person to person. The best way you can advocate for yourself is by taking care of you. When you advocate for yourself, you are choosing to be your biggest supporter and to make self care a priority. You can practice self care by losing weight, exercising, eating healthy, and managing your stress.5
Another way you can advocate for yourself and others with psoriatic arthritis is by participating in clinical trials. Clinical trials allow participating individuals to further explore their condition and gain access to high quality care. If you or a loved one have been diagnosed with psoriatic arthritis and have not been treated with biologic therapy, you may be eligible to participate in a psoriatic arthritis clinical trial. Visit BMS Study Connect to learn more.
Funded by Bristol Myers Squibb.
- National Psoriasis Foundation. About Psoriatic Arthritis
- Arthritis Foundation. Managing Psoriatic Arthritis Flares
- Arthritis Foundation. What Triggers an Arthritis Flare
- American Academy of Dermatology Association. Psoriatic Arthritis: Diagnosis and Treatment
- Arthritis Foundation. 7 Self-Care Tips for PsA