Psoriasis is a type of skin disorder that is characterized by red patches of skin that are raised and scaly.Its not uncommon that a person with psoriasis develops an inflammation of joints or arthritis. People afflicted by both inflammatory arthritis & psoriasis are found to have psoriatic arthritis. In some instances, the joint problems start before the skin lesions develop.
Psoriatic arthritis affects any part of the body, including the spine and fingertips. The main symptoms include stiffness, joint pain, and swelling which can range from mild to serious. There is no official known cure for psoriatic arthritis, thus it is therefore controling the inflammation in joins is very critical to prevent disability or permanent joint pain.
Psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis are both chronic diseases that can get worse over the course of the disease. There are times when the symptoms get better or go into remission alternating with periods when the symptom gets worse. Its signs and symptoms are similar to those of rheumatoid arthritis that affect the ankles, knees and joints in the feet that becomes stiff, swollen and painful. The small joints in the fingers and toes are primarily affected by psoriatic arthritis. In almost 80 percent of those with this disease, small breaks or cracks develop on the nails of their fingers and toes.
Psoriasis arthritis can also affect the ligaments, tendons, and fascia with a possibility of getting more serious when a person has pustular psoriasis – an uncommon form of psoriasis that is characterized of having clear defined, raised bumps on the skin that is filled with pus. In most cases, it appears first on the skin, and arthritis would soon follow. It can be developed in the joints and tissues of the hands and feet resulting to dactylitis – a sausage-like appearance.
Mild forms of psoriasis arthritis can be treated with non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like aspirin and ibuprofen to control morning stiffness, swelling, and pain. Other medications used to treat psoriatic arthritis include Disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs), Immunosuppressant medications, and TNF-alpha inhibitors. A doctor should be consulted first before taking any medicines as most of these drugs have side effects.
Psoriasis and Arthritis – What is the Connection?
Although it is hard to associate arthritis and psoriasis because latter is a skin problem yet many people that suffer from arthritis will develop a condition called psoriatic arthritis sooner or later. This condition is marked by pain and deterioration of the joints just like other kinds of arthritis.
People suffering with arthritis should be aware of this becuase this condition can lead to serious problems. The hands can swell up and the knees and other joints can deteriorate. In really bad cases, disability can occur. Fortunately, this terrible problem can be arrested by drugs, diet and lifestyle changes.
If you have psoriasis, there is a possibility that this condition will develop sooner or later. Many people with it don’t realize it. Instead, they simply dismiss the aches and pains as a minor illness like the flu, the normal side effects of exercise or hard work or even regular arthritis.
So what is Psoriatic Arthritis Anyway?
Medically speaking, Psoriasis and Arthritis are actually very similar diseases because they have the same basic cause. When a person has psoriasis, his or her immune system actually attacks his or her skin. That’s what causes the scaling and other problems. The swelling associated with the disease is caused when white blood cells go into the joints. There they can destroy the attachments between the ligaments or muscles and bones. This is what leads to the damage.
When you have arthritis, your immune system starts attacking your joints and starts destroying them as well. That is what causes the swelling and the pain. If it is not controlled, it can lead to disability. Unfortunately, the underlying causes of both problems are not that well understood.
Infections could be one major cause of it as could dietary problems. It is well-known that increased consumption of certain vitamins including vitamin D and minerals such as zinc helps psoriasis. The reason for that is that the immune system disorder that leads to the disease is often caused by deficiencies in the diet.
Part of the reason why psoriasis is so common in today’s world is the lousy diet that a lot of us eat. Many of us eat mostly processed foods that simply don’t contain the minerals that we need. A lot of people could avoid both arthritis and psoriasis by changing or controlling their diets. Other health problems can make the condition worse. Injuries and stress to the joints are likely to increase it. Sickness including flu and infections can also make it worse. Some people develop psoriasis after contracting some infections including fungal infections.
The Symptoms of Psoriatic Arthritis
One major problem is that a lot of people don’t know the symptoms of psoriatic arthritis. They think I don’t feel any pain, so I don’t have the problem. Well, they couldn’t be more wrong. The symptoms are more than just aches and pains as I’ll show you below. Following are some commonly identified Psoriatic arthritis symptoms:
- Back pain
- Swollen joints
- Pain in the joints
- Finger nails or toe nails falling off
- Fingernail infections
- Toenail infections
- Sore feet
- Morning stiffness
- Redness and pain in tissues surrounding the eyes
- Sore muscles
- Inability to exercise or perform daily activities.
- Bad attitude
- Having a hard time moving
- Lower back pain
- Discomfort when sitting
As you can see, not all of these symptoms are pain related. Some of them, including problems with the nails, are not associated with psoriatic arthritis by most people.
Psoriatic arthritis typically begins about ten years after you have psoriasis. Most people don’t realize that they have it at first and will live with it for several years. Like psoriasis itself, it can come and go. Many people feel better after changing their diet or a new drug. Others may clear up for no discernible reason.
There are also some psychological and behavioral problems related to this condition. Many people develop a bad attitude and get really grumpy. The disease can cause fatigue and interfere with sleep which can keep you from getting the rest you need. Some people feel depressed by this. This fatigue does make you more susceptible to minor illnesses such as the flu.
A big problem that can affect people with this condition is weight gain. Many people stop exercising or limit exercise when they get it. This makes their health worse because they start gaining weight. Some people become obese because of problems like this.
Problems like psoriatic arthritis are directly related to a bad diet. People get them because of the bad diet. Then they keep eating the bad foods and get fat which leads to other health problems.
Who Can Get It – People Prone to Arthritis Psoriatica
Studies shows that around half the people who get psoriasis have a higher possibility of getting psoriatic arthritis. Something else you should be aware of is that there are a few people who will psoriatic arthritis without getting psoriasis. The disease usually develops between age 33 and age 55 or at least is first diagnosed then.
Interestingly enough, people of European descent are more likely to get the disease than those of Asian and African descent. Doctors don’t know why this is, but it may have something to do with their increased vulnerability to sunlight and sunburns. One possibility is that people with light complexions are less likely to expose their skin to the sun and get sufficient amounts of vitamin D to control the problem. This means that people with lighter skin may need to eat a different diet in order to prevent the disease.
Around 40% of people diagnosed with it have a family history as well. It isn’t known if it is caused by genetic factors or by lighter skin.
Diet and Psoriatic Arthritis – The Major Cause
Diet is one of the major causes of both psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis. The first and most important thing you need to do is to switch to a natural, raw food diet. This means you need to eat food that is natural and unprocessed like that our ancestors ate.
Our great grandparents didn’t have to worry about problems like psoriasis because they ate the kind of diet that our bodies are designed for. That means lots of raw vegetables and fruits, a little meat and a lot of natural fats. It means few or no processed foods.
Many naturopathic and homeopathic doctors recommend that you should eliminate wheat and dairy from your diet or at least cut down on it. These foods are related to autoimmune disorders. Now, it should be noted that wheat and dairy are not necessarily bad in themselves; it’s the way that the food industry prepares them. They simply lack the nutrition that the body will need to overcome the problem.
The first step that you need to take is to switch a natural diet in which you get most of your nutrition from fruits and vegetables. That means not only limiting meat consumption, but it also means actually eating vegetables. Try eating two or three servings of raw fresh fruits and vegetables with every meal.
Components of the Psoriasis or Psoriatic Arthritis Diet
A good source of protein that is also a good source of vitamin D and omega-3 fatty acids. Some kinds of fish including tuna, sardines, cod and salmon qualify for this. Fermented cod liver oil can be a great substitute for the fish and it is rich in vitamin B-12. If you want to go the supplement route, try that. Eggs are a great source of vitamin D and protein. Eating one a day or every other day can give you the protein you need. Shiitake and reishi mushrooms are also great sources of protein and vitamins especially vitamin E.
If you eat meat, make sure it is organic and grass fed. The same goes for eggs try the natural omega-3 eggs. A really good source of everything in meat is high-vitamin butter. They make some great supplements of vitamin butter mixed with fermented cod liver oil. That can give you a lot of the vitamins and protein you need. Best of all, it is flavored so that a human being can actually eat it.
Eating large amounts of certain vegetables and fruits will help prevent psoriatic arthritis. These include grapefruit, grapes, prunes, kale, chard, spinach, broccoli, mustard greens, oranges, orange juice, lemon juice, beans and lentils. These include large amounts of the vitamins that you will need to prevent the disease including B, B-12, D, C, and E.
You will also need to increase your consumption of zinc and perhaps to take a zinc supplement. Eating at least one serving of food rich in zinc every day can help. Foods rich in zinc include:
- Dark chocolate
- Dried watermelon seeds
- Roasted pumpkin seeds
- Squash seeds
- Low fat roast beef
- Sesame seeds
- Sesame butter (Tahini)
- Veal liver
- Toasted wheat germ
For a person trying to eat a low fat high energy diet, eating peanuts or seeds is probably the best answer. Roasted pumpkin seeds taste really good and they’re easy to find. Eating some dark chocolate is a good idea as well. Oysters are alright as an occasional treat.
Peanuts particularly fresh roasted peanuts with no salt are a really good alternative as well. One great way to get healthy is to replace the chips and other snack foods with peanuts and pumpkin or squash seeds.
A great way to save money is to buy a number of pumpkins. They’re really cheap around Halloween. You can also have a lot of fun making Jack-o’-lanterns as well. Then you can make large numbers of pumpkin seeds to eat all year round.
Here’s a great recipe for roasted pumpkin seeds:
Roasted Pumpkin Seeds Ingredients:
- One large or medium sized pumpkin (about what you’d use for a Jack O Lantern) or several pumpkins
- Olive oil
- Sea salt (optional)
Cut open the pumpkin or pumpkins and taken out the seeds. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Separate the seeds from the other junk inside the pumpkins and rinse them. Put the seeds and two cups of water in a small saucepan. Then bring it to a boil. If you want, you can add sea salt. Simmer for ten minutes. Drain the water. Spread about a teaspoon of olive oil on the bottom of a roasting pan. Then add the seeds. Cook in the oven until the seeds are brown.
Note that you might be able to save some money by going to the pumpkin patch for this. Many farmers let the public come onto their fields and pick pumpkins during Halloween season. Check your local newspaper or the web for a farm in your area that does this. You can also grow your pumpkins or squash in your garden. You can also use this recipe for other kinds of squash seeds including yellow squash.
Its always a good choice to eliminate processed foods from yoour diet. Try to eliminate all junk food, candy, sweets, baked goods, frozen food, canned food and prepackaged food. That stuff often has little or no nutritional value and it may contain chemicals such as MSG that can make psoriasis and arthritis worse.
Home Remedies & Natural Cures for Psoriatic Arthritis
Beyond diet, there are some other cures you can look into. Exercise is one of the best. Stay active every day and make sure you lose weight. If you have a problem like psoriatic arthritis, short fast bursts of activity could be more beneficial than long periods of exercise. Try those on Yuri Elkaim’s Fitter U Fitness for a good start.
Beyond exercise, water treatment has been known to help. People who travel to Israel and bathed or swam in the famous Dead Sea (yes, the one where Sodomand Gomorrah used to be) have reported relief. If you can’t afford to travel to Israel, you can get Dead Sea Salt and put it in your bath tub. You can order Dead Seabath salts online.
Try soaking in it for an hour a day especially if you have a soaking tub. Soaking your feet in water with Dead Sea Salt can help as well, especially if you have psoriatic arthritis in the toes. Soaking in Dead Sea Salt Water everyday or every other day can be a real help. If you’re remodeling your house, seriously consider adding a soaking tub. If you’re looking for a new place, look for one with a soaking tub.
There are some drug treatments for psoriatic arthritis as people who watch TV probably know. Most of these have pretty serious side effects so you should only consider one if you have a serious case. Try the diet and other methods such as soaking in Dead Sea Salt first.
Something else you should consider is seeking a naturopathic or homeopathic doctor. These experts often have much more experience in dealing with diet related problems including ones like psoriatic arthritis. They may be able to recommend natural and dietary therapies a regular doctor will not.
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