How do I determine what triggers my psoriatic arthritis symptoms?

The factors that cause psoriatic arthritis symptoms can vary a great deal from person to person. Your psoriatic arthritis triggers may be quite different from another person's, and they can change over time or with new circumstances. Paying attention to your triggers is key to managing your psoriatic arthritis symptoms effectively.

Be aware of common psoriatic arthritis symptom triggers

These can include:

  • Infections or wounds that affect your skin, such as strep throat, a skin infection, a skin cut or scrape, or a severe sunburn
  • Stress, which can trigger an immune system response that increases inflammation in your body and can worsen psoriatic arthritis symptoms
  • Cold weather, smoking and heavy alcohol consumption, which may focus your immune system's actions on other disease-prevention efforts, leaving little energy left to manage psoriatic arthritis symptoms
  • Certain medications, including lithium, beta blockers and antimalarial drugs

You may be affected by one or more of these triggers, or you may have noticed that other factors seem to cause your symptoms to flare, such as certain foods and other health conditions.

Consider a health journal or tracker

Keep a health journal to track the relationship between your symptoms and your daily activities. Jot down a short summary of your symptoms each day — including days you have none — and note your activities, diet and other experiences. Make sure to list any new medications, stressors or health concerns. Keep entries brief so they're easy to scan and summarize when you meet with your doctor. This will help youmake the most of your time together.

Online tracker-tools and smartphone apps are available, but recording your symptoms in a notebook is just as effective. Choose the system that works best for you, and stick with it until your next medical appointment. Your health journal can help you and your doctor identify the most promising areas for change in your daily life.

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Dec. 21, 2018 See more Expert Answers