Managing psoriatic arthritis can be tiring on its own, but for some people, chronic fatigue is an overlooked symptom of the condition. One study suggests that as many as 50 percent of people with skin conditions report having moderate to severe fatigue, while 25 percent experience severe levels of fatigue.
Psoriatic arthritis is marked by inflammation that affects the joints and skin. Fatigue can be caused by the inflammation itself, but may also be a result of other complications, including:
- chronic pain
- reduced physical fitness
- being overweight
- sleeping issues
- anxiety and depression
If you’re waking up each morning without energy, here are a few simple tips to get you through the day.
Identifying your triggers might be challenging, but finding the cause of your fatigue can help you achieve a solution. Fatigue can result from several sources, including:
- stress level
- sleeping patterns
It can also be a combination of several of these.
Keep a written or electronic record of your fatigue to identify its cause. Record your fatigue level each day along with what you ate, when you woke up, and when you went to bed, and any activities you did that day.
This can help you find the cause of your fatigue and other symptoms. For example, you may feel fatigue right after taking your medication, or perhaps you feel really tired after eating sugar or dairy. While there might not be a single answer, this is a good starting point.
Pain and inflammation from psoriatic arthritis can contribute to fatigue. You likely take a prescription medication to keep your condition under control. Many people living with psoriatic arthritis reported a reduction in fatigue when taking medications for psoriatic arthritis.
It’s important to take your medication on schedule and not miss any doses. Set a reminder on your phone to take your medication at the right time each day.
Talk to your doctor if side effects are causing you to avoid taking your medication. Your doctor may want to switch you to a different one.
It may seem counterintuitive, but exercise is important for warding off fatigue. Exercising improves your heart health and helps increase your muscle mass, strength, and flexibility. This can give you a much-needed energy boost.
The endorphin rush you experience during exercise can also improve your overall quality of life, as well as your sleep. Aim for 30 minutes of exercise per day — even if it’s just a brisk walk. Be sure to stay hydrated during and after your workout, as dehydration can also be a hidden cause of fatigue.
Your diet plays a huge role in how you feel. A diet high in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, healthy fats, and lean protein is the way to go. You should do your best to avoid processed and sugary foods.
Studies show that specific dietary choices can help reduce the severity of psoriatic arthritis symptoms, including fatigue.
Some examples of foods that can decrease inflammation are:
- those high in omega-3 fatty acids, such as salmon, tuna, nuts, olive oil, and flax
- those high in antioxidants, such as colorful fruits and vegetables, dark chocolate, tea, and coffee
- whole grains, like oats and brown rice
The Medical Board of the National Psoriasis Foundation also mentions vitamin D supplementation may benefit people with psoriasis or psoriatic arthritis.
If your mattress isn’t comfortable, your sleep will likely suffer. You spend about a third of your day in bed. Investing in a good mattress can make a world of a difference when it comes to psoriatic arthritis.
A good night’s sleep is essential for combatting fatigue. A relaxing routine at night can set you up for success.
Try taking a warm bath to ease your joint pain each night before bedtime. If possible, go to bed and get up at the same time every day.
Here are a few more tips for a healthy sleep routine:
- avoid alcohol, nicotine, and caffeine
- keep your bedroom cool and dark
- turn off computer, cell phone, and TV screens before bedtime
- keep electronics out of the bedroom
- avoid large meals before bedtime
Many people with psoriatic arthritis have other health conditions, such as diabetes, anemia, insomnia, depression, or anxiety. These conditions could be the cause of your fatigue, or they could be making it worse.
Talk to your doctor and make sure you’re getting the treatment you need. Depending on your case, they might prescribe:
- iron supplements for anemia
- sleep aids, such as zolpidem (Ambien), for insomnia
- multivitamins for nutritional deficiencies
- antidepressants, such as bupropion (Wellbutrin)
- medications for diabetes, such as metformin or insulin
The stress of having a chronic illness can be overwhelming. It may also make your symptoms worse. But, there are many options you can try to reduce stress levels. Some excellent mind-body activities that may help lower your stress levels include:
- tai chi
If you’re still struggling, try speaking to a counselor or mental health specialist.
You’re likely already taking a few different medications to treat your condition and may be reluctant to add another one. That’s understandable.
But if you can’t figure out how to manage your fatigue levels, you may benefit from a medication that increases energy, sometimes called “activating” medications. These include:
- selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRIs) antidepressants, such as fluoxetine (Prozac)
- psychostimulants, such as modafinil (Provigil)
Ask your doctor to recommend a medication. You might have to try a few before you find one that works for you.
When living with a chronic disease, it’s inevitable that you’ll feel tired from time to time. You might find that the best way to manage your fatigue is to schedule it into your daily activities. A quick nap or just lying down in the middle of the day could be just what you need.
You can also plan to do your most intensive tasks when you usually have the most energy. Consider dividing up your exercise or other activities into shorter segments.
Fatigue is a symptom of psoriatic arthritis and may be one of the most troublesome. Fatigue can make your pain and stiffness worse. Your pain can then make you feel more tired, resulting in a fierce cycle of exhaustion.
Work with your doctor to find out if there are any medications you need to be taking. Remember that establishing a routine and seeing results may take some time. You can beat fatigue with the right combination of treatments and lifestyle changes.