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Psoriatic arthritis

Skin Conditions, Immune, Joint disorders | April 24, 2018 | Author: Naturopath

Immune, Skin conditions, autoimmune

Psoriatic arthritis

Psoriatic arthritis is a type of joint inflammation that usually affects people with psoriasis. Approximately 30% of people with psoriasis will go on to develop this form of arthritis—causing swollen and painful joints. Treating psoriatic arthritis involves making dietary and lifestyle changes, and using natural pain relieving and anti-inflammatory agents. It is imperative that integrative treatment begins immediately as permanent joint damage and pain can be a result.

What is psoriatic arthritis?

Like other forms of arthritis, psoriatic arthritic causes joint pain and inflammation. It is a common form of arthritis that occurs in people with a chronic inflammatory skin condition called psoriasis. People with psoriasis have red, scaly patches on the skin called plaques, however, not every person with psoriatic arthritis has skin inflammations or psoriasis.
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What causes the condition?

Types of psoriatic arthritisThe exact cause is unknown, but it is thought to involve abnormalities in the immune system. This leads to destruction of the end of bones in your joints—resulting in joint pain, inflammation, swelling and loss of movement. A certain gene called HLA-B27 has been associated with psoriatic arthritis and inflammation of the spine. There is also family history, and environmental factors such as infection at play.

Types of psoriatic arthritis

There are many different forms of psoriatic arthritis including:

  • Symmetrical polyarthritis—several joints on both sides of the body are involved
  • Asymmetric arthritis—one side of the body is affected or different joints on both sides
  • Distal interphalangeal arthritis—affects the joints in the hands and feet near the nails
  • Spondylitis—joint inflammation that occurs in the spine
  • Arthritis mutilans—a rare form of arthritis that causes severe inflammation and deformity in the hands

Symptoms of psoriatic arthritis

Usually the condition develops between the ages of 30 and 50. Psoriatic arthritis can come on suddenly or develop slowly over time. Symptoms range from mild to severe and people often note times of improvement followed by relapses or ‘flare ups’.

Some of the most common symptoms include:

  • Fatigue
  • Swollen and painful joints, which can affect the spine, hands, toes, wrists, knees or ankles
  • Loss of joint mobility
  • Foot pain
  • Nail changes such as pitting, brittle nails or separation from the nail bed
  • Eye pain and redness

How to get relief

Anti-inflammatory diet

Certain foods in the diet can trigger inflammation in the body and include excessive alcohol intake, caffeine, gluten, processed foods, trans fats and refined sugar. There may be other food sensitivities or allergens such as dairy, eggs or seafood, which are making your symptoms worse.
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Instead, opt for anti-inflammatory foods such as leafy greens, different coloured berries, wild-caught fish, oats, wild rice, walnuts, turmeric, organic bone broths, ginger, and garlic.

Probiotic foods can help improve levels of beneficial bacteria and include fermented dairy products, kimchi or sauerkraut. Eat a variety of fresh foods that are close to nature and your joints will thank you for it.
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Stress is known to trigger the development of autoimmune diseases or contribute to ‘flare-ups’. Finding ways to reduce the impact of stress in your life is incredibly important if you suffer from psoriatic arthritis. Keep the inflammation at bay with daily walking, meditation, yoga, journaling or by reading a novel. Basically any healthy activity that makes you feel balanced and relaxed can assist with stress management.
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Psoriatic arthritisKeeping physically active is important in improving and maintaining the health of our heart, brain, bones, muscles and joints. This can involve any activity you enjoy such as swimming, walking, pilates or cycling. In people with psoriatic arthritis they have a higher risk of cardiovascular disease and this can help to reduce complications later on. Exercise is a great way to improve flexibility, reduce joint pain and increase your range of movement.

Vitamin D

Like many other autoimmune diseases, vitamin D deficiency is common in people with psoriatic arthritis. A study which set out to determine the vitamin D status of men with psoriatic arthritis uncovered that vitamin D deficiency is as high as 81%. This is quite alarming as vitamin D has important roles in skeletal health and modulation of the immune system. Your vitamin D levels can be checked through a simple blood test and depending on the level—this will determine what dose will be suitable for you.
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Fish oil

Omega-3 essential fatty acids are an effective natural treatment for psoriatic arthritis. In one study supplementation with an omega-3 supplement resulted in a decrease in disease activity and an improvement in psoriasis. The participants had a significant reduction in non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) and paracetamol use compared to the control group. The results were achieved after 24 weeks of supplementing with 3g of omega-3 per day.
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Psoriatic arthritisAlthough there are no studies to prove turmeric is beneficial in psoriatic arthritis it has been helpful in other similar inflammatory conditions including psoriasis and rheumatoid arthritis.

It’s the curcumin, extracted from the turmeric which helps to reduce specific inflammatory mediators involved in psoriatic arthritis such as TNF-α and IL-17.
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Key points

  • Psoriatic arthritis is a condition that affects the joints—particularly in people with a skin condition called psoriasis
  • There are many different forms of psoriatic arthritis depending on the location and severity of the condition
  • Early intervention is crucial in preventing irreversible joint damage
  • Eating an anti-inflammatory diet as well exercise and taking anti-inflammatory supplements can help to provide a better quality of life  Australia’s best online discount chemist


Bierhaus A, et al. Linking stress to inflammation. Anesthesiol Clin. 2006 Jun;24(2):325-40.

Chimenti MS, et al. Self-reported adherence to a home-based exercise program among patients affected by psoriatic arthritis with minimal disease activity. Drug Dev Res. 2014 Nov;75 Suppl 1:S57-9

Puig L. Cardiometabolic Comorbidities in Psoriasis and Psoriatic Arthritis. Int J Mol Sci. 2017 Dec 25;19(1)

Petho Z, et al. Vitamin D status in men with psoriatic arthritis: a case-control study. Osteoporos Int. 2015 Jul;26(7):1965-70

Kristensen S, et al. Beneficial effect of n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids on inflammation and analgesic use in psoriatic arthritis: a randomized, double blind, placebo-controlled trial.

Yang C, et al. Advances in clinical study of curcumin. Curr Pharm Des. 2013;19(11):1966-73

Campa M, et al. An overview of developing TNF-α targeted therapy for the treatment of psoriasis. Expert Opin Investig Drugs. 2015;24(10):1343-54

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