Body Temperature Changes and Psoriatic Arthritis
Disclaimer: This article represents the anecdotal experiences of the author. If you have not already, please reach out to a medical professional if you are experiencing this symptom, as it may be caused by another underlying health condition.
Recently, we put a question up on the Psoriatic-Arthritis.com Facebook page about body temperature. It quickly became abundantly clear that body temperature changes and the struggle to strike a balance is a more common experience than you might think.
Whether you find yourself freezing cold or steaming hot, the answer seems to be clear: there is no middle of the road for those who live with psoriatic disease.
Sharing my own hot/cold experience...
My own history with body temperature changes started about a week after I gave birth to my youngest daughter. As I was navigating those first few months with three children within 4 years, my body waged a full-on rebellion starting with body temperature swings.
I would find myself with chills so strong my joints and muscles would painfully lock up with the chill. Heated blankets and layers of clothes did nothing to help as I sat holding my newborn, literally shaking while my teeth chattered.
The best relief I could find is holding steaming mugs of coffee and running my hands underwater with the hottest temperature I could tolerate. Not too long thereafter, sometimes even within the half-hour, I’d find myself sweating so bad that my clothes would be drenched from sweat.
Of course, my first assumption was hormones. After extensive checking, that was ruled out. With no proper explanation, I let it drop, and honestly, I just hoped it would go away. And while the temperature swings have gotten less severe, they have nevertheless not gone away.
Is it actually a symptom of PsA?
It took some time, but eventually, I was diagnosed with psoriatic arthritis and my temperature swings got pushed to the side in favor of more pressing and painful symptoms. But they continue to persist.
When I feel my worst and find myself in a PsA flare, I seem to actually run a low-grade fever and the swings from hot and cold begin to worsen. I hadn’t actually noticed it until I started doing a better job of recording my symptoms and side effects. And I noticed the swings between cold and hot become much more pronounced and last much longer.
However, I do want to be clear that my doctor has never officially attributed these swings in body temperature to my psoriatic arthritis. They still continue to just be a “random symptom” that I also experience.
It is only my opinion that the temperature swings are linked with my PsA. And I’ve even attempted a deep dive into Google, and other than patients sharing personal experience, I haven’t been able to find many relevant medical studies.
A few simple tips...
So what can do we to manage this inconvenient and annoying symptom? Honestly, when it comes down to managing body temperature changes with PsA, like so many things, we just have to try and get through it as best we can.
Rule out other possibilities for your temperature swings
While temperature swings seem to be fairly well documented as a symptom of psoriatic arthritis within our forums and Facebook page, there are other things that can cause someone to have trouble regulating their body temperature. Always speak with your doctor if you develop any new symptoms.
Layers, layers, and more layers
Tanks, shorts, vests, and pants oh my! You can even throw in a scarf or bikini. I haven’t had “seasonal” wardrobes for years. All my clothes stay out year-round. It just ends up being the most convenient.
Keep plenty of heated things and cooling things at the ready
We have a blow-up hot tub that I just can’t live without. It does a great job, especially in the winter of helping me balance the sweats and chills. I also have several of those hot-cold gel pads handy.
If you are experiencing temperature swings, I’d love to hear more about your experiences. Have you spoken with your doctor? Do you have any better solutions?
Were you ever misdiagnosed before being diagnosed with psoriatic arthritis (PsA)?