Up to 3% of women, men, and children around the globe suffer from psoriasis. Psoriasis is an inflammatory, chronic skin condition that causes you to break out into rough, itchy, red or silver patches.
An overactive immune system is at the heart of psoriasis. Instead of regularly shedding old skin cells and building up new ones to replace them, you produce new skin cells every few days, which is faster than the old cells can shed. The result is a buildup of cells that creates reddish welts or silvery plaques.
Psoriasis is uncomfortable and even embarrassing. In extreme cases, the disease is severe enough to interfere with daily activities.
Unfortunately, if you have psoriasis, you’re also at risk for a complication called psoriatic arthritis (PsA), which develops in about a third of psoriasis sufferers.
As with other forms of arthritis, psoriatic arthritis makes your joints feel painful, stiff, and swollen. Without treatment, the inflammation in your joints distorts them and impairs function.
At the Rheumatology Center of New Jersey, our rheumatology experts offer relief for both psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis. If you already have psoriasis, but haven’t developed PsA, you can’t actually prevent it.
But we recommend that you adopt healthy steps to prevent flares of PsA. Follow these four tips to decrease your chances of suffering from his painful complication of psoriasis.
Hit the road
Exercise isn’t a cure-all, but it does help prevent many types of chronic diseases and also reduces your risk for painful psoriatic arthritis flares.
In addition to improving your cardiovascular health, regular exercise keeps your joints lubricated so they’re less likely to stiffen or become painful.
Inside your joints are tissues called synovial sacs. These sacs excrete a lubrication called synovial fluid whenever you move your joints. The more movement, the more protection your joints get.
You don’t have to join a gym or bench press hundreds of pounds to help your joints stay strong and pain-free. Regularly engage in a variety of movements and activities that you enjoy and can add into your daily routine, such as:
- Tai chi
Also, get up and move throughout the day. When your joints stay in one place for too long, they’re more likely to feel stiff when you’re ready to use them.
Turn down the heat
Like psoriasis, PsA is an inflammatory condition. Instead of feeding the flames of inflammation with foods like sugar, simple carbs, alcohol, and junk food, adopt an anti-inflammatory approach to eating. Lean toward:
- Fatty fish
- Whole vegetables
- Whole fruits
- Lean meats and poultry
- Nuts and seeds
You should also identify your own triggers. For some people, this could be dairy. Do what you can to eliminate or reduce triggering foods and beverages from your diet to protect your joints and skin.
Reduce your stress
Life is filled with stressors, but that doesn’t mean you have to feel stressed. Feeling chronically stressed raises the chances of inflammation and having a flare of either psoriasis or psoriatic arthritis. Keep centered and focused by:
- Deep breathing
If you tend to have anxiety or be in a highly stressed-out state, talk to us about medications that help you feel relaxed, focused, and positive.
Treat your psoriasis
Any treatment we recommend to control psoriasis symptoms is also beneficial for PsA. Be sure you’re compliant with your medications. If you notice breakthrough symptoms, let us know at once.
Keep your joints comfortable and free from PsA flares by addressing the factors that exacerbate psoriasis and PsA. Contact us by phone or online form at the office nearest you today for a customized diagnosis and treatment. We’re located in Monroe, Flemington, and Somerville, New Jersey.