If you have psoriasis, you may be at risk of developing psoriatic arthritis. This is a specific type of arthritis caused by an overactive immune system. Like other types of arthritis, it affects your joints, causing swelling and pain. If you suspect you've developed this disease, you should see your doctor in order to be formally diagnosed. Here are four tips to help you manage your psoriatic arthritis:
1. See your doctor at the first sign of a flare-up.
Like other types of arthritis, psoriatic arthritis can come in waves. That means it can get better or even go into remission at times, while at other times you may find it particularly painful. You should absolutely enjoy remission, but make sure to see your doctor as soon as you feel your arthritis coming back. According to Mayo Clinic, psoriatic arthritis can cause lasting joint damage if it goes untreated. You should always make treating your condition your first priority.
2. Take NSAIDs to control pain.
Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are commonly found in most households. Ibuprofen and acetaminophen fall into this category. NSAIDs can work instantly to diminish the pain you feel as a result of your arthritis. They can also reduce the swelling in your joints, which can remove some of the underlying causes of your pain. While these drugs are safe for occasional use, when taken too often, they can cause damage to your internal organs. Ask your doctor how often you can safely take NSAIDs.
3. Use disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs.
DMARDs are often the first line of treatment when it comes to arthritis. DMARDs can keep your arthritis from causing permanent damage to your body. These drugs work by inhibiting your arthritis. However, you should think of DMARDs as a type of maintenance medication. They keep your arthritis under control over a long period of time, but they won't provide immediate relief. While waiting for your DMARDs to work, you can continue using NSAIDs or any other painkiller your doctor prescribes.
4. Consider immunosuppressants.
Psoriatic arthritis occurs when your immune system attacks your healthy joints. In severe cases, your doctor may prescribe you drugs to inhibit your immune system. When your immune system is weakened, it won't be able to attack your joint tissue, which can relieve your pain. However, while you're on immunosuppressants, you will be more susceptible to illnesses. You'll have to be very careful to stay healthy while on these drugs.
Talk to a doctor to learn more about psoriatic arthritis treatments.