If you have psoriatic arthritis, try to take a holistic view of your self-care. That means not only taking treatment as your doctor has prescribed, but also looking after yourself as a whole.
It’s a good idea to try to eat a balanced diet and control your weight and protect your joints.1 Being overweight can overload the joints and bones that are used to supporting the body.2,3 Although there’s no clear evidence that diet can affect PsA, some people report having milder symptoms when they ate more healthily.1 Certain foods can make inflammation worse, so try to avoid alcohol, sugary, processed or fried things, diet drinks, red meat and dairy, where possible.1 Instead, try replacing them with fruits and vegetables, beans and whole grains, fatty fish, avocados, flaxseed and olive oil, and green, white and black teas.1 Spices like turmeric, ginger and cayenne can also help calm inflammation.1 Kicking a smoking habit may also help – smoking has been shown to increase the risk of psoriatic disease.3
Exercise can help you destress and maintain a healthy weight, which could lower your risk of heart disease and type 2 diabetes.2,4,5 And very importantly if you have PsA, exercise can help you to protect your joints and strengthen your muscles.4 It’s important to find activities that work for you as they need to be something that will help your joints, stiffness and pain, rather than make it worse, so please check with your healthcare professional before starting anything.4,6 You’re more likely to stick with an activity you like!6 And most importantly – take note of any progress you make and congratulate yourself – every step is a step in the right direction!
Skin and nail psoriasis is common in people with PsA, so if you’re affected, make sure you pay special attention to yours.8,9 These days, we all try to wash our hands regularly, so make sure you moisturise well.10 Keeping your nails trimmed and using gloves to help you avoid irritants when doing chores or gardening is also a good idea.10 If you have PsO plaques on your feet or toenails, make sure you keep them clean and dry by wearing merino wool socks or roomy shoes.11 And if you’re out and about, make sure you protect your skin from the sun.12 Finally, while it may be tempting to have a good scratch when you wash your hair, please make sure you don’t.13
*Representative of patient experience