Psoriatic Arthritis Self Care
Taking a proactive part in treatment is an important step in managing psoriatic arthritis symptoms. This process is called self management or self care. It can help the person ease the severity of flares and stay healthier overall.
Here are some everyday self-care strategies for people with psoriatic arthritis.
Regular physical activity particularly aerobic exercises like walking or biking, can keep affected joints flexible and improve overall health and wellness. Excess weight puts added stress on joints, so it's important to shed any extra pounds.
Get Proper Nutrition
A healthy, balanced diet -- one rich in fresh foods like fruits and vegetables and low in sugar, fat and salt -- can help people with psoriatic arthritis boost their overall health and control their weight. Eating too many unhealthy foods may increase feelings of fatigue and sluggishness.
Drinking too much alcohol can interfere with medications or increase the side effects of some drugs. Ask a doctor if it is safe to drink alcohol when receiving treatment for psoriatic arthritis.
Smoking is bad for a person's health. It's always a good time to stop, or cut back on, smoking.
Excess stress can worsen flares and make it harder to manage daily activities. Meditation, listening to soothing music, walking, joining a support group and therapeutic exercise such as yoga and tai chi can help reduce stress.
Protect The Skin
Keeping skin moisturized is helpful in treating psoriasis. Regular use of lotions or creams containing aloe vera, jojoba, capsaicin or zinc pyrithione may help lubricate affected skin. Taking short, warm (not hot) baths using oilated oatmeal, bath oil, Dead Sea or Epsom salts, followed by moisturizer application, may also soothe skin. Make a habit of applying moisturizers following daily showers or baths, or after swimming. Occlusion is a method for removing scales on the skin, where a moisturizer or topical medication is applied to the skin and wrapped with plastic, nylon dressing or cotton. The moisturizer softens dry areas. Occlusion should not be done with steroidal creams. Consult a doctor before using such products or methods.
Try Light Therapy
Consistent, measured exposure to ultraviolet light, called phototherapy, has been shown to ease scaly psoriasis rashes. Phototherapy sessions are controlled treatments performed in a doctor’s office or at home using special ultraviolet light. Short (5 to 10 minute) intervals of natural sunlight can also be beneficial – just take care to avoid sunburn by applying sunblock to unaffected areas.
Wash and Dress With Care
Wash clothes with fragrance-free detergent and fabric softeners to reduce risk of skin reactions. Choose clothing that is loose-fitting to avoid scratching scaly areas of skin. Items made of natural, soft fibers like cotton may be less irritating to skin and cooler in warm months.