Avoid these 13 Triggers for Psoriatic Arthritis

Psoriatic arthritis is a unique type of arthritis that is caused by inflammation and swelling due to the underlying skin condition psoriasis. Studies have shown that up to 30 percent of people with psoriasis will develop psoriatic arthritis. 

This condition can be mild or severe and even a relatively minor case of psoriasis can cause significant arthritic symptoms. These symptoms typically occur during flare-ups. 

What Triggers a Flare-up?

Flare-ups are brief periods when the psoriatic arthritis symptoms become more severe. People with this condition can feel perfectly fine much of the time, but flare-ups can quickly make the condition go from mild to debilitating… 

13. Stress

Mental and emotional stress have a wide range of effects across the body. Stress is a feeling of intense tension that often feels like it can’t be adequately dealt with. Stress can have a strong impact on our health including Psoriatic Arthritis.

Why Stress Triggers a Flare-up

Intense and persistent stress taxes our bodies natural defenses. Psoriasis, the condition that causes psoriatic arthritis, is currently thought to be an immune system disorder. The immune system is one area of the body that is most interrupted by stress. It’s the wide ranging impacts of stress that makes it so impactful to our overall health. 

Stress doesn’t have to just be emotional, it can also be a physical condition… 

12. Physical Stress 

Physical stress can be anything from a work-related injury to everyday things like how we sit and the clothes we wear. Physical stress causes undue strain on the body and this can trigger a flare-up. 

Why Physical Stress Triggers a Flare-up

Physical stress aggravates the body. This repetitive contact and strain can irritate the joints which are impacted by psoriatic arthritis. Just like with mental stress, physical stress is incredibly specific to individuals and learning which things cause you stress is a great way to improve your health. 

Psoriatic arthritis is often complicated by other things going on in our bodies such as changes to our weight… 

11. Weight Gain

Psoriatic arthritis has been shown to be a more severe problem in people with other medical concerns centered around their weight. 

When the body is not at a healthy weight, the rest of our natural systems need to work overtime. This can contribute to psoriatic arthritis. 

Why Weight Gain Triggers a Flare-up

Individuals who are overweight can face more frequent and severe flare-ups. This is due to the added stress excess weight causes on the joints and the overall health concerns that come with being overweight. 

The physical condition of our bodies affects psoriatic arthritis flare-ups whether it is based on weight gain or injury… 

10. Injuries

Physical injuries can quickly turn into flare-ups. Psoriatic arthritis is very sensitive to trauma to the body. Everything from bruises and scrapes all the way to surgeries can contribute to worse psoriatic arthritis symptoms. 

Why Injuries Trigger a Flare-up

When the body is damaged, it is natural to see swelling, stiffness, and mobility problems as the body heals. These things, especially the swelling, can cause a psoriatic arthritis flare-up. The added strain on the joints aggravates this condition and leads to more frequent outbreaks. 

At the end of the day, it’s all about the strain being placed on your joints… 

9. Joint Strain

Straining your joints is something we go through everyday. On a scientific level, every motion puts some strain on your joints, but the trick is to understand your body and make sure you are not exceeding your stain limits. 

Why Joint Strain Triggers a Flare-up

Too much strain is very dangerous for our joints. Joints are sensitive locations on the body and overdoing it, whether from a repetitive movement or lifting too much weight, can cause a flare-up. 

Stopping joint strain from causing a flare-up is all about knowing your limits. This kind of self-knowledge also helps with your sleep… 

8. Lack of Sleep

Psoriasis is a condition that is easily affected by our overall health. When your sleep becomes interrupted or infrequent, it can often lead to worse outcomes for your psoriatic arthritis. 

Why a Lack of Sleep Triggers a Flare-up

A lack of sleep is linked to worse health outcomes overall. Our bodies need regular, reliable sleep in order to stay healthy. When your sleep becomes irregular and interrupted, your health can start to decline. This can also create secondary medical conditions, such as stress, that also trigger flare-ups. 

There are steps you can take to correct poor sleep habits. Another easy change to make that helps with psoriatic arthritis is quitting smoking… 

7. Smoking

Long gone are the days of doctors arguing about whether or not smoking is bad for our health. It’s widely recognized that smoking damages more than just the lungs. 

Why Smoking Triggers a Flare-up

Smoking contributes to poor health outcomes in a variety of ways. The primary health effects including damage to our lungs, poor oxygen intake, and other issues can trigger flare-ups. Smoking can also aggravate the immune system and contribute to flare-ups that way. 

All in all, smoking is pretty bad for our health. Just like with our diets, it’s all about being in control of what we bring into our bodies…

6. Alcohol

Like smoking, alcohol consumption is linked to psoriatic arthritis flare-ups. Alcohol can be fine in moderation, but consuming too much has a dramatic affect on our health. 

Why Alcohol Triggers a Flare-up 

Alcohol can trigger a psoriatic arthritis flare-up for a variety of reasons. When you consume too much alcohol, you can dehydrate the body which leads to flare-ups. Alcohol consumption also leads to problems which lower our overall quality of life and health. Just as with smoking, it’s several health problems all contributing to make their symptoms worse. 

Alcohol is part of many different diets around the world. Staying in control of what we eat and drink can go a long way to making psoriatic arthritis flare-ups more manageable… 

5. Dietary Problems

Our diets are central to our health. A diet that lacks sufficient nutritional value or a diet that is dominated by fast food and snacks is one that is primed for health problems. 

Why Dietary Problems Trigger a Flare-up

Psoriatic arthritis is directly linked in with our overall health. Because this condition is caused by an underlying case of psoriasis, it is triggered by many of the same things that affect psoriasis including our diets. Aiming for a healthy diet rich in fruits and vegetables can go a long way to helping with psoriatic arthritis. 

Psoriasis is commonly believed to be an auto-immune disorder which means that any strain on our immune system can cause a flare-up… 

4. Infection

Infections are a potential cause of psoriatic arthritis flare-ups. When the body is busy fighting off an infection, it often makes other medical conditions worse. 

Why Infection Triggers a Flare-up

Psoriatic arthritis is heavily related to our immune systems. During an infection, our immune systems go into overdrive. This means that immune system disorders can be greatly aggravated and this includes psoriatic arthritis flare-ups. 

As our bodies change with age, we can have greater trouble dealing with infections and become at a greater risk for psoriatic arthritis… 

3. Your Age

Psoriatic arthritis is linked to age. As we get older, this condition becomes more noticeable and might even flare up for the first time as we age. 

Why Your Age Can Trigger a Flare-up

Psoriatic arthritis typically doesn’t set in until a person has aged to between 30 and 50 years. Those are the ages when this condition becomes more noticeable. This is also linked to the development of psoriasis and the increased health problems our bodies face with age. 

Age-related health issues are something we are all going to have to face in time. Another universal is watching out for sunburn… 

2. Sunburn

Sunburn is caused by overexposure to the sun’s rays. The sun does more than just light the Earth, it also provides heat. This is due to solar rays being radioactive. 

Usually this radiation is harmless and only causes damage when overexposed or over a long period of time, but for people with psoriatic arthritis it can be a source of flare-ups. 

Why Sunburn Triggers a Flare-up

An overexposure to sunlight causes sunburn. This condition is caused by the sun’s UV rays damaging the outer layer of our skin. This can cause swelling, open wounds, and other injuries that aggravate psoriatic arthritis. Extreme sunburn, known as sun poisoning, is a serious condition on its own, but represents a considerable trigger for psoriatic arthritis flare-ups. 

Our exposure to the sun is strongly linked with another flare-up risk: climate… 

1. Climate

There is a lot to say about how our climate impacts our health. When the weather changes, our health can change with it. Psoriatic arthritis is particularly sensitive to a variety of climate conditions. 

Why Climate Triggers a Flare-up

We mentioned earlier how sunburn can trigger flare-ups, but regularly and safely catching some rays is thought to actually help this condition. This means that winter months can cause flare-ups. Dry climates can dehydrate the skin which can also trigger flare-ups. 

Individuals with psoriatic arthritis can take many steps to help ease their condition, but it all starts with knowing yourself… 

Final Thoughts 

This condition can be treated through a combination of help from your doctor and getting to know what causes your flare-ups. Your doctor can help you with treatment options such as steroids to help with flare-ups and surgeries for severe cases.

You can also do simple things at home that can make big changes. Keeping a journal that tracks your flare-ups can help give you a good idea of what causes them and what steps you can take to make them more manageable. 


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