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What’s the Connection Between Psoriatic Arthritis and Fatigue?

Overview

For many people with psoriatic arthritis, fatigue is a common problem. Psoriatic arthritis is a painful inflammatory form of arthritis that can lead to swelling and stiffness in and around the joints. It can also cause nail changes and generalized fatigue.

One study found that approximately half of all people with psoriatic arthritis have mild to moderate fatigue, and about one quarter report having severe fatigue.

Read on to learn more about psoriatic arthritis and fatigue and how you can manage this symptom.

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Causes

Causes

Fatigue from psoriatic arthritis can have many causes. The inflammation from psoriasis and arthritis releases proteins, called cytokines, that can cause fatigue. In some cases, people with psoriatic arthritis also have other medical conditions that lead to fatigue, including:

Many of the medical disorders that commonly coexist with psoriatic arthritis are also immune-related or inflammatory diseases, which can also make the fatigue worse.

There’s an established link between pain, emotional state, and fatigue. That means that fatigue can make your pain worse, which in turn can make you more tired.

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Management

Tips for living with psoriatic arthritis

You may not be able to fully get rid of the fatigue from psoriatic arthritis, but there are things you can do to manage this symptom.

Keep a fatigue log

Keeping track of when you feel tired can help you identify potential triggers of your fatigue. Write down your daily activities, exercise, food, and any medications you take, and how they affect your energy levels. Keeping a careful record can help you identify triggers that make your fatigue worse, as well as things that may help reduce fatigue. Knowing your triggers can help you avoid them to manage your fatigue.

Exercise regularly

Low-impact exercises can help you manage symptoms of psoriatic arthritis, including fatigue. Stick to exercises that are gentle on your joints, such as:

  • swimming
  • walking
  • lifting light weights

Remember to incorporate rest and recovery time into any workout.

Read more: Exercise and fitness tips for psoriatic arthritis »

Ask your doctor about sleep disorders

It’s possible that an underlying sleep disorder may be adding to your fatigue. Talk to your doctor about sleep disorders, such as sleep apnea or insomnia. Treating an underlying sleep disorder can help you sleep better and decrease your fatigue.

Get quality sleep

Sleep is important for maintaining health, and a lack of quality sleep can quickly leave you feeling fatigued. One study found that when the body sends out fatigue signals, it’s giving the body time to focus on the cells that need more attention or energy sent to them. Fatigue can be the body’s way of trying to protect and heal itself.

Here are some tips to help you improve your sleep:

  • Sleep for 7 to 8 hours each day.
  • Go to sleep and wake up at the same time each day. To help get you used to going to bed at the same time, set an alarm 30 minutes to an hour before so you can start winding down.
  • Avoid alcohol or caffeine close to bedtime. These substances can affect your quality of sleep. Caffeine is also found in chocolate, so say no to chocolate desserts after dinner, as well.
  • Eat a lighter meal at night.
  • Avoid watching television or using a computer or cell phone right before bedtime. The blue light can make it more difficult to fall asleep.
  • Keep the temperature in your bedroom cool.

Eat a nutritious diet

Vitamin deficiencies and anemia can cause fatigue. In many cases, you should be able to get the correct amount of vitamins from the foods you eat in a balanced diet. A good trick is to try to “eat the rainbow.” Choose whole, unprocessed foods in various colors to eat a wide range of nutrients.

If you’re worried that you aren’t getting enough vitamins from your diet, talk to your doctor. They can do a blood test to see if you’re anemic. They can also help you make adjustments to your diet. They may recommend a vitamin supplement, as well. Do not start taking supplements unless recommended by your doctor.

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See a doctor

Talk to your doctor

Talk to your doctor if fatigue is affecting your daily activities and quality of life. Let them know how it’s affecting you and what activities you can no longer participate in or enjoy. Your doctor can work with you to identify any other conditions that may be affecting your energy levels. They can also help you manage your symptoms.

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Outlook

Outlook

It may not be possible to fully treat the fatigue caused by your psoriatic arthritis, but you may be able to improve your symptoms. Start with lifestyle modifications, and if your symptoms don’t improve, talk to your doctor.

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