Extra body weight affects psoriatic arthritis symptoms and how well treatments work. Losing weight can help you live better with this condition.

Extra body weight can increase joint pain in all types of arthritis. Extra weight puts more strain on the joints and spine. And extra weight makes it harder to move and lowers energy.

If you have psoriatic arthritis, extra weight can affect how much some treatments help. Knowing how weight affects your psoriatic arthritis might help move you to try to lose extra weight.

Fat cells produce the same proteins, also known as cytokines, that cause psoriatic arthritis symptoms. This adds to the redness, heat, swelling and pain, also known as inflammation, that your body has because of the psoriatic arthritis.

In psoriatic arthritis, extra body weight is linked to:

  • Worse skin problems.
  • Worse pain.
  • More joints involved.

Having extra weight also affects how psoriatic arthritis treatments work. This includes medicines that block tumor necrosis factor, a protein that adds to psoriatic arthritis symptoms. These medicines help reduce symptoms by blocking these proteins, also known as cytokines. But extra fat tissue can cause cytokines to be so high that these medicines don't work.

Studies of psoriatic arthritis medicines and body weight suggest:

  • Tumor necrosis factor blockers don't work as well in people with extra body weight.
  • More body fat makes it less likely that tumor necrosis factor inhibitors will work well.
  • Disease modifying anti-rheumatic drugs might also work less well for those with extra body weight.
  • Extra body weight might increase the risk of side effects from these medicines.

Losing weight can help these medicines work better.

Before starting a weight-loss program, talk to your health care provider. Your provider can look at your medicines and how psoriatic arthritis affects you. Then your provider can suggest what weight-loss program might be best for you.

Weight loss involves changing what and how much you eat and moving more.

The best way to eat well and cut calories is to eat more plant-based foods. These include fruits, vegetables and whole grains.

Pick a healthy eating plan you can live with:

  • Don't limit food choices too much. Look for a plan that doesn't keep you from eating certain foods. A healthy plan includes many foods from all the major food groups.
  • Aim for balance. A balanced weight-loss plan keeps you healthy while cutting calories. It isn't healthy to eat only certain food groups, such as protein, or to eat too few calories.
  • Like what you eat. Include foods in your plan that you can enjoy eating for the rest of your life, not just for a few weeks or months. You can still eat your favorite foods. But you might have to eat less of them.

Physical activity helps you lose weight and keep it off. People with arthritis who exercise regularly have less pain and move better. A health care provider, such as a physical therapist, can help you find a good exercise plan that doesn't hurt your joints.

The plan might include gentle exercises such as yoga, tai chi or swimming. To stick with the plan, choose activities you enjoy.

Many weight-loss programs promise that you can lose a lot of weight fast. But a slow and steady weight loss is easier to stick to. And losing weight slowly can make it easier to keep weight off over time.

It's best to aim for losing 1 to 2 pounds (0.5 to 1 kilogram) a week. To lose at this rate, most people need to burn 500 to 1,000 calories more than they eat each day. This means eating fewer calories and moving more.

To lose weight and keep it off, you need to commit to making healthy changes in your eating and exercise choices. It's worth it! Weight loss will help you be healthier overall. And you'll have fewer psoriatic arthritis symptoms and better quality of life.

March 21, 2023