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 See more In-depth