Certain factors, such as being sedentary and having high levels of stress, may aggravate symptoms of psoriatic arthritis. People can consider making lifestyle changes, which may help improve their condition.

An important part of managing psoriatic arthritis involves making lifestyle choices that can help reduce symptoms. Along with taking medications, it is equally important to know what lifestyle habits it is best for people to avoid to help relieve symptoms and improve their overall outlook.

Certain practices — for example, being sedentary — can cause symptoms to worsen or stay the same, even with aggressive treatments.

Here are nine factors a person may wish to consider changing to help manage symptoms of psoriatic arthritis.

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Lack of movement can cause joints to feel stiff. It can also have a negative effect on a person’s overall health, leading to obesity or an increased risk of cardiovascular disease.

To address this, a person may consider:

  • consulting a doctor to determine a healthy level of exercise for them
  • starting slowly
  • choosing low impact activities
  • alternating activities to help keep an exercise routine interesting

Most food needs some degree of processing, and not all detrimental for health. However, chemically processed foods, also known as “ultra-processed foods”, are often high in calories, fat, salt, and sugar. It is best to avoid these foods and eat more nutrient-dense foods.

While no diet can cure psoriatic arthritis, eating more anti-inflammatory foods may help decrease inflammation and improve overall health.

Some anti-inflammatory foods to include in a balanced diet include:

  • nuts
  • fatty fish
  • olive oil
  • colorful vegetables
  • lean proteins

Alcohol consumption can increase the risk of developing both psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis.

Research included in a 2022 study suggests that drinking alcohol may increase a person’s risk of developing psoriatic arthritis. A 2018 study found similar results, indicating that drinking alcohol and having overweight may increase psoriatic arthritis risk.

Alcohol can also contribute to inflammation in the body, which can worsen psoriatic arthritis.

People can talk with a doctor about their alcohol consumption and whether cutting back may help with psoriatic arthritis management.

Obesity and overweight are known risk factors for psoriatic arthritis.

Experts recommend maintaining a moderate weight when living with psoriatic arthritis. Having less excess weight can help reduce stress on the joints and alleviate some pain.

Eating a healthy diet and exercising regularly can help with weight management.

Smoking can increase a person’s risk of developing various health conditions, including psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis.

Studies suggest smoking can also affect the effectiveness of psoriatic arthritis treatment, and that people with psoriatic arthritis may be less likely to continue treatment when smoking. These factors can lead to worsening symptoms and the progression of the condition.

A person can consult a doctor about smoking cessation aids that may help with quitting.

Stress and psoriatic arthritis have a cyclical relationship.

Stress releases inflammatory hormones and chemicals into the body. The longer a person has high levels of inflammation, the more negative effects it can have. As a result, stress can trigger a psoriatic arthritis flare.

However, managing a chronic condition such as psoriatic arthritis can also be stressful, especially during a flare-up. This can create a cycle of stress and flares.

People can aim to take steps to help reduce their stress levels. Stress management techniques include:

  • meditating
  • exercising
  • practicing yoga

Sleep can affect several areas of a person’s health.

Difficulty sleeping can lead to fatigue, weight gain, changes in the ability to think clearly, and mood fluctuations. It can also negatively affect a person’s joints. A lack of sleep may increase inflammation in the body and contribute to psoriatic arthritis joint pain.

Improving sleep quality may help manage psoriatic arthritis symptoms. A person can try the following strategies to help improve sleep:

  • Making the room dark and eliminating all sources of light when sleeping.
  • Avoiding large meals before bed.
  • Making the room temperature a bit cooler.
  • Creating a comfortable space to sleep.
  • Avoiding distractions such as cell phones, tablets, and TV while in bed.
  • Using the bedroom only for sleeping and sexual activity.

Treatment plays an important role in managing psoriatic arthritis. If a person does not follow their treatment regimen, whether that means skipping doses or stopping the medication altogether, it can lead to worsening symptoms.

It is important for individuals not to stop taking medications without first talking with their doctor. Factors such as side effects or routes of administration may cause a person to want to discontinue therapy. However, a doctor may be able to recommend a different treatment approach to help minimize these effects.

There is no cure for psoriatic arthritis. It is a progressive condition that can cause irreversible joint damage and lead to disability when left untreated.

The right treatment plan can help prevent psoriatic arthritis from worsening. It can also help reduce symptoms and improve quality of life. A person who has psoriatic arthritis can check in with their doctor regularly to monitor how well treatment is working.

Psoriatic arthritis is a chronic inflammatory form of arthritis. It requires both treatments and lifestyle changes to help prevent it from worsening.

Certain lifestyle factors, such as being sedentary, smoking, and having high stress levels, can worsen symptoms and potentially interfere with treatment.

Taking steps to avoid or adjust these factors where possible may help a person adhere to treatment, find symptom relief, and avoid potential complications.