Fatigue: The Underestimated Symptom in Psoriatic Arthritis
What is fatigue?
Everyone gets tired from time to time. Lack of sleep, stress, or other life interruptions can cause tiredness. However, fatigue is more than occasional tiredness. Fatigue is extreme tiredness and lack of energy that interferes with daily life.
Although it is not commonly considered a symptom of PsA, the chronic inflammation that causes the disease can lead to fatigue in some patients. The painful joint symptoms common in PsA can lead to ongoing sleep disruptions, which can also contribute to fatigue.
It is often overlooked, fatigue can be a major issue for PsA patients, contributing to work problems, social problems, and an overall reduction in quality of life.
Managing fatigue and psoriatic arthritis
Although fatigue accompanying PsA can be difficult, there are several options to manage it. Many simple lifestyle modifications may help, such as:
- Low-impact exercise: Can reduce stiffness and pain, while increasing overall well-being
- Diet and weight management: Obesity can contribute to increased pain and stiffness, as it also increases inflammation in the body. Maintaining a healthy weight and eating a nutritious diet can increase energy levels
- Getting adequate rest: PsA patients experiencing fatigue should take care to reduce levels of strenuous activity. In addition, if a patient is experiencing extreme fatigue, he or she should make sure to get enough sleep
Treatments for fatigue are also available, such as:
- Activation medications: Some prescription medications, such as antidepressants or psychostimulants can help increase energy levels
- Iron supplements: Increased fatigue may also be a sign of low levels of red blood cells in the body, and iron can increase these levels
- Sleep aids: Prescription sleep medications may also be helpful for patients who are not getting regular, adequate sleep
- Therapy:Anxiety and depression can accompany the burden of living with a chronic illness like PsA. In these cases, counseling can be beneficial, and may reduce fatigue related to these issues
When to contact your doctor
If you are a patient with PsA suffering from fatigue, your doctor is an excellent resource. If lifestyle modifications are not helping, or If there are new or increasing symptoms of fatigue, your doctor can determine what next steps to take.
They may evaluate for another condition that is contributing to fatigue, or assess your treatment regimen, to make sure that it is suitable. Be sure to reach out to your doctor for recommendations and strategies to help manage fatigue caused by PsA.
How do you plan to recognize PsA Awareness Month?