Maintain a healthy weight with psoriatic arthritis
Extra body weight affects your psoriatic arthritis symptoms and how well your treatments work. Losing weight can help you live better with this condition.
Extra body weight can increase joint pain in all types of arthritis, putting more strain on already-taxed joints and spine, and decreasing energy and mobility. If you have psoriatic arthritis, extra weight can also increase joint inflammation and affect how well you respond to common treatments. Understanding how weight affects your psoriatic arthritis symptoms and treatments can help motivate you to take steps to lose extra weight.
Excess weight can worsen psoriatic arthritis symptoms
Chemical reactions inside fat cells trigger the production of the same inflammation-causing proteins (cytokines) that cause your psoriatic arthritis symptoms. This adds to the inflammation already occurring in your body, making symptoms worse. In psoriatic arthritis, extra body weight is linked to:
- More severe skin problems
- Worse pain
- A greater number of affected joints
Excess weight can affect treatment effectiveness
Being overweight or obese also affects your response to common psoriatic arthritis treatments, including tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-alpha) inhibitors. TNF-alpha inhibitors help reduce symptoms by blocking the action of cytokines. However, extra fat tissue can increase your cytokines to a level that's too high for TNFs to be effective.
Studies of psoriatic arthritis medications and body weight suggest:
- TNFs are less effective in those with extra body weight.
- The higher a person's estimated body fat level — or body mass index (BMI) — the less likely TNF drugs may be effective.
- Traditionally used disease modifying anti-rheumatic drugs may also be less effective in those with extra body weight.
Losing weight can significantly improve effectiveness of these medications.
Work with your doctor to lose excess weight
Before starting a weight-loss program, talk to your doctor. He or she can review your medications and provide guidance on a program that may be best for you.
A successful approach typically includes modifying your diet, increasing physical activity and making a long-term commitment to these healthy changes.
Jan. 06, 2017
- Weight loss with treatment can help psoriatic arthritis. National Psoriasis Foundation. https://www.psoriasis.org/advance/weight-loss-with-treatment-can-help-psoriatic-arthritis. Accessed Dec. 2, 2016.
- How overweight and obesity affect psoriatic arthritis. Arthritis Foundation. http://www.arthritis.org/about-arthritis/types/psoriatic-arthritis/articles/obesity-psoriatic-arthritis.php. Accessed Dec. 2, 2016.
- Eder L, et al. Obesity is associated with a lower probability of achieving sustained minimal disease activity state among patients with psoriatic arthritis. Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases. 2015;74:813.
- Nicola MN, et al. Weight loss and achievement of minimal disease activity in patients with psoriatic arthritis starting treatment with tumour necrosis factor blockers. Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases. 2014;73:1157.
- Gladman D, et al. Treatment of psoriatic arthritis. https://uptodate.com/home. Accessed Dec. 2, 2016.
- Do you know some of the health risks of being overweight? National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/health-topics/weight-control/health_risks_being_overweight/Pages/health-risks-being-overweight.aspx. Accessed Dec. 7, 2016.
- 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and U.S. Department of Agriculture. http://health.gov/dietaryguidelines/2015/guidelines. Accessed Dec. 7, 2016.
- Exercise and arthritis. American College of Rheumatology. http://www.rheumatology.org/practice/clinical/patients/diseases_and_conditions/exercise.asp. Accessed Dec. 7, 2016.
- How fat affects arthritis. Arthritis Foundation. http://www.arthritis.org/living-with-arthritis/comorbidities/obesity-arthritis/fat-and-arthritis.php. Accessed Dec. 8, 2016.
- Chang-Miller A (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Scottsdale, AZ. Dec. 11, 2016.
- Health tips for adults. NIDDK. https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/health-topics/weight-control/better-health/Pages/better-health-and-you-tips-for-adults.aspx. Accessed Dec. 12, 2016.