People who live with skin psoriasis or arthritic psoriasis often feel tired and think that this fatigue is mostly moral. Why does psoriasis causes fatigue then?
According to some studies, moral fatigue is definitely not the major culprit; fatigue is among the many early disease symptoms.
Researchers believe that it may be related to the significant release of many chemicals induced by the disease’s chronic inflammation into the body.
While this symptom of fatigue is not yet fully understood, it seems that certain behaviors or lifestyles may reduce the intensity of this symptom.
You can get certain improvements by doing regular exercise, following a healthy diet, having a relaxed routine before going to bed, doing better management of stress levels, practicing some yoga, and surrounding yourself with a positive attitude and environment.
Also, know everything about psoriasis here, if you understand it well, there is a bigger change in controlling it.
- What Is Psoriasis Fatigue?
- Know Your 6 Worse “Enemies”
- How to Conquer Psoriasis Fatigue?
- #1 Physical Exercise
- #2 Know How to Identify the Triggers for Fatigue
- #3 Avoid Stress in General
- #4 Have a Sleep Pattern
- #5 Don’t Over-Train Yourself With Exercise
- #6 Adopt a Healthy Diet in Your Lifestyle
- #7 Be in a Better Environment
- #8 Know What Medication is Best for You
- #9 Lose Excessive Weight
- #10 Treat What’s Causing You Pain
- #11 Limit Your Alcohol Intake
- #12 Reduce (or Quit) Caffeine
- #13 Manage and Treat Depression, and Anxiety
- #14 Quit Smoking for Good
- #15 Fight Dehydration Drink More Water
- #16 Check for Allergies
- #17 Sit Less and Move More
- #18 Have Some Vitamins
- #19 Don’t Use Sleeping Pills
- What About Patients With Rheumatoid Arthritis Fatigue?
- Which Are the Solutions Against Rheumatoid Arthritis Fatigue?
What Is Psoriasis Fatigue?
The fatigue caused by psoriasis is a state of exhaustion, loss of strength with a feeling of weariness, the constant need for sleep, and irritability.
Unlike normal fatigue, the fatigue-symptom of inflammatory rheumatism does not diminish with rest. In fact, if not taken care of properly, it gets worst over time.
Fatigue and low energy levels can be one of the biggest frustrating aspects of psoriasis arthritis. The causes of fatigue are often unclear and are not limited to sleep or intensity of activity.
Rather, the feeling of fatigue is the result of a combination of complex factors, so it is important to determine which ones apply to your situation and what you can do to increase your energy level.
As fatigue can be interpreted differently from one psoriasis patient to another, several scores have been developed to evaluate the different dimensions of this symptom.
For example, FACIT Fatigue (Functional Assessment Of Chronic Illness Therapy) explores the different ways of defining fatigue, physical well-being, family and social well-being, emotional well-being and functional well-being (ability to do things in daily life).
Fatigue is an important and common symptom for patients. Indeed, in rheumatoid arthritis and spondyloarthropathies, the frequency of exhaustion varies from 42% to 80% depending on the definitions.
A recent European study showed that when 6,120 patients with rheumatological disorders were questioned online, 57% of patients with psoriatic arthritis described severe fatigue (41% of patients with rheumatoid polyarthritis and 45% of patients with ankylosing spondyloarthritis had severe fatigue).
However, in an American study, the subtype of spondyloarthropathy did not influence the level of exhaustion.
Moreover, it has an important psycho-social impact: it can limit daily living activities, relationships with people around, and the quality of work and can impact the quality of life.
In psoriatic arthritis, several factors could influence fatigue: anxiety, depression, pain, feeling the disease, limited physical activity, personal conditions, and perhaps the inflammatory rheumatism activity.
This may be the result of a series of disturbances in several body systems: the hypothalamic-pituitary system (hormonal axis involved in stress and sleep), the central nervous system via the activation of certain areas of the brain, the peripheral nervous system via the deregulation of the autonomic nervous system controlling internal organs and chronic excessive inflammation.
The management of fatigue must, therefore, take all these mechanisms into account.
Know Your 6 Worse “Enemies”
One of the main concerns about psoriasis fatigue is that it never happens as a stand-alone cause, it often comes associated with another condition.
Despite that, there isn’t an accurate explanation that can predict it’s symptoms, some factors can be able to explain it. This condition causes an inflammation that releases cytokines, a protein that can be tied to fatigue.
All that is known for a fact is that it usually happens in the majority of conditions such as:
- Sleeping disorders
- Anxiety and depression
- Obesity and overweight
Medical disorders like these and some others make psoriasis symptoms even worse, so to prevent them, it is essential to keep a few healthy lifestyle habits.
How to Conquer Psoriasis Fatigue?
#1 Physical Exercise
Not a day goes by without a new study confirming the beneficial effects of regular physical activity on life expectancy and the prevention of many physical and mental illnesses. Everyone knows that we must fight against sedentary lifestyles to prevent cancers, cardiovascular disease, stress-related diseases, etc.
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS?
Daily physical activity can help prevent flare-ups, reduce their intensity, fight other diseases associated with psoriasis or other contributing factors, and promote psychological well-being.
Although there are currently few studies on the clinical effects of exercise on psoriasis, the benefits of exercise are widely described and recommended by physicians and learned societies that develop “guidelines”.
- Regular, moderate-intensity aerobic exercise effectively “waking up” the body’s metabolism, fighting excess cholesterol or blood sugar and losing weight. These factors are known to promote the emergence and flare-ups of psoriasis.
- Regular physical activity is good for the immune system’s proper functioning and reduces low-grade (chronic) inflammation and the risk of other inflammatory diseases.
- Practicing exercise allows you to stop or not start smoking.
- Better managing stress and anxiety through sports activities reduces the number and intensity of psoriasis flare-ups.
- Exercise has a very positive impact on body image, which promotes self-management as well as socialization.
- And finally, regular physical activity releases endorphins, the famous hormones of happiness, pleasure, and well-being.
TIPS TO HELP YOU START!
The choice of the exercise will depend on the individual, but it is recommend group activities that do not require you to be too naked if you are not “comfortable” with psoriasis.
The only activities that are not recommended are combat sports or those involving a lot of violent contact, or those requiring special equipment that irritates the skin.
If you have never practiced, you can start by taking a few healthy actions daily, such as taking the stairs instead of using the elevator.
Favor exercises that will allow you to let off steam and free yourself from stress. Running in all its forms (brisk walking, running, Nordic walking…) can soothe explosive temperaments. Kick-boxing is also an excellent outlet for stress.
For gentler but very liberating exercises, also think about yoga. However, be careful with friction areas (e.g., bicycle saddles, horses…).
Use loose, comfortable clothing. Just before the session, moisturize your skin.
On-site, take the lead and explain to the personal trainer or gym manager right away that you have psoriasis and that it is not contagious. It will save you a lot of explanation.
If you have psoriatic rheumatism, favor gentle exercises (swimming, cycling, walking, yoga, gentle gym…) to avoid putting too much strain on the joints. (more details down below in the article).
#2 Know How to Identify the Triggers for Fatigue
Keeping a journal to track your day may be a smart decision on this one. Being able to identify things that have a huge repercussion on your psoriasis fatigue is the first step to avoid them.
Such knowledge can impact your daily decisions, and therefore you can start planning your day according to your energy levels or go along with them.
#3 Avoid Stress in General
To avoid certain actions that lead you to exhaustion may be the brightest move instead of learning to accept those adversities.
Match your condition limitations with the best quality of life you can get. Sometimes less doing is where you’ll get the best results.
If you can predict with accuracy what cause you to stress or if you can have or do an alternative action to replace it, then just do it.
Nowadays, there are endless solutions and alternatives to do a single action, so there is no need to keep the routine of an old habit that you know stresses you.
There are 1000 ways to cook an egg, so choose what best serves you, and don’t stress about it.
#4 Have a Sleep Pattern
Start practicing a slowdown routine before going to bed; it is good to shut down cellphones and television 30 minutes in advance. Screen lights (or blue light) stimulate the brain to stay awake and therefore interrupts you to fall asleep.
Breathing exercises or light yoga may help you relax and slow down the daily routine, within a few days your body along with your mind will learn that the day is over and will initiate a peaceful cycle.
You can also try to read a book, reading can help you slow down the brain activity from the rush of the day. You can enjoy reading a good book in bed, but if you prefer you can also read in another division of the house with a relaxing drink and then return to your bed once you start to feel the sleepiness arrive.
Set a mood environment that help you achieve calm and relaxation, if it help listen to calm music and let yourself go.
Try to keep a routine of waking up and sleeping in the same schedule, even on weekends.
There are many more things you can do to sleep but keep in mind that the most important one is the routine that can get you closer to your objective. Try, experiment and you will succeed.
#5 Don’t Over-Train Yourself With Exercise
Exercise is always good, not only for psoriasis but also for health in general. Like everything in life, excess is never a good thing, which is the same with exercise.
You can workout for what’s best for you, and some exercises will work better with your condition than others.
And if you feel exhausted from the day, you can always do it in the next one. Learn how to choose your battles and be efficient; that is the key to a successful workout routine.
#6 Adopt a Healthy Diet in Your Lifestyle
This one is a life saving for many psoriasis patients, choosing a proper diet and choosing when to eat it is the perfect balance for achieving the best results ever.
Learning a proper diet will teach you how many meals(calories) your body needs and the ones that it can digest easily, leading to spend less energy digesting the excess.
Also, having a routine in eating time means you can manage what hours you can digest better and with efficiency certain types of foods.
Being on a diet doesn’t mean to restrain yourself from eating; it’s exactly the opposite; it’s for you to learn how to eat more, with less.
#7 Be in a Better Environment
Let’s face it, some places are just toxic and tiring. For some people it’s the crowded mall, for others it’s a family reunion (let’s hope for you it’s not the later).
Knowing what places make you exhausted it’s a good reminder to frequent them only when needed or at a time that they are not so exhausting.
Don’t waste time doing nothing in a place that only drains your energy. Plan your ways out (or in) and be smart about them; if you can go in another calmer time, then do it.
In case you are already inside one of them, and the heat started to rise, make yourself free to leave. Any excuse is a good excuse; in the end, it’s all for the greater good.
#8 Know What Medication is Best for You
Some medications have tremendous side effects like sleepiness or too much relaxation in the body, learn those effects and try to get alternatives that can free you from those troubles.
If you cannot get a replacement and know its effects on you, take them in a proper hour that is more convenient so you can rest alongside it instead of fighting it hard.
#9 Lose Excessive Weight
Having a healthy weight can protect you from many illnesses. By assessing your healthy weight and maintaining it as much as possible, you will benefit from an additional tool that will help you stay in shape… and live longer!
Achieving and maintaining a healthy weight can benefit you in the long term. The benefits of a healthy weight include the following:
- Reduced risk of heart disease;
- Reduced risk of stroke;
- Reduced risk of developing certain types of cancer;
- Control of non-insulin-dependent diabetes;
- Relief of back and joint stress;
- Increased energy levels;
- Optimizing immune function;
- Reduced risk of osteoporosis;
- Reduced risk of infertility;
- Reduced risk of anemia;
- Improved self-esteem;
- Increased energy and well-being.
Here are some tips to help you maintain a healthy weight:
- Make informed food choices. Avoid foods that contain sugar, fat, and lots of calories.
- Eat lots of fruits and vegetables.
- Be physically active at least 3 times a week. Walk instead of driving whenever possible. Use the stairs instead of the elevator, etc.
- Introduce good lifestyle habits such as drinking lots of water, getting enough sleep, etc.
- Limit your alcohol consumption.
- Assess your weight regularly using a bathroom scale on a flat surface, preferably always at the same time of day and without clothes.
When you know all the benefits of achieving a healthy weight, you’ll understand the importance of implementing measures to counter obesity in children and adolescents as well in adults.
If you think you have some weight to lose or are concerned about the effects that excess weight may have on your health, talk to your pharmacist or doctor.
You can also call on other professionals’ expertise, such as a nutritionist, to help you develop an action plan to maintain a healthy weight.
#10 Treat What’s Causing You Pain
Musculoskeletal pain is the most prevalent pain in the world population, reaching all age groups. these pains will be present in the lives of all adults at some point, either in a single episode or recurring.
Pain is physical, but it exists for our own protection; without it, our bodies would be destroyed, and we wouldn’t even notice.
It serves as an alert sign so our brain knows there is something wrong with our body. Changes in both the mechanism of pain perception and the mechanism of blocking the painful stimulus are harmful and can lead to chronic pain, such as those we have seen growth and overcrowded health services.
The response to pain is multi-factorial and even involves the culture of each individual. Certainly, the lifestyle can trigger or maintain pain.
And this will certainly have an impact on your quality of life: independence, humor, relationships, and even productivity.
But it doesn’t mean you should live this way, search for treatments that you feel comfortable in trying, there are many treatments and alternatives that you can see if it works best for you.
Each person reacts differently to a type of treatment, so look for various stimuli to relieve your pain in the most natural way:
among other resources, can be a very effective relief and surprise you with the results.
Living without pain, fully, with the physical and mental capacities preserved, for sure, is the first step to be happy. Learn to know and respect the limits of your body, take care and be very happy!
#11 Limit Your Alcohol Intake
A link has been found between excessive alcohol consumption and psoriasis.
Although the nature of the link between alcohol and psoriasis is not precisely known, excessive consumption has a significant impact on the disease’s development and nature.
Not only could it promote the development of pre-existing psoriasis, but heavy drinkers also have more severe, extensive, and inflammatory lesions.
Besides, alcohol consumption is associated with increased resistance to treatment and a tendency towards less compliance with prescriptions.
Excessive drinking can also cause sleep disorders by increasing sensitivity to itching.
It is also known that after the consumption of alcoholic beverages, ethanol quickly appears in the skin.
Apart from an effect that promotes inflammation, it is hypothesized that this ethanol may also alter the epidermis barrier (surface layer of the skin) and thus allow the penetration of environmental factors (chemical or biological) that act on the skin’s immunity, thus aggravating the psoriasis.
If your alcohol consumption is excessive, reducing or even stopping it may improve your lesions.
#12 Reduce (or Quit) Caffeine
Coffee is part of the daily rituals of many people around the world. It shares second place among the world’s most popular drinks with tea, right after still water.
Caffeine, the main component of coffee, is the subject of much debate and discussion.
It helps to prevent drowsiness, improve mood and attention, and relieve headaches. On the other hand, caffeine can cause side effects.
Caffeine consumption can lead to increased anxiety and insomnia, depression, and renal and cardiovascular systems deterioration.
Although there is ample evidence that coffee does not cause a risk of psoriasis, the effect on the severity of psoriasis remains hypothetical.
Some studies have shown that reducing caffeine consumption, as part of a general dietary change, can reduce the symptoms of psoriasis and coffee may be the main cause.
It is important to note that a general diet does not only mean minimizing or excluding caffeine.
It will be wise to monitor the amount of coffee you drink, as well as to understand whether the amount of caffeine you consume daily is related to your lifestyle and to bad habits (for example, smoking) that you need to get rid of.
Keep in mind: for the stimulating effect of caffeine to wear off, it may take more than 6 hours. Therefore, reducing or even quitting it could not be that bad after all.
#13 Manage and Treat Depression, and Anxiety
Health begins from the inside out, in this case, from top to bottom. It’s not easy to find just one solution for a simple problem; many times solution is found combining several habits or good practices.
Mental illnesses are hard to diagnose and hard to treat, but acknowledging them is the first step, and such is the case, to treat psoriasis fatigue you must also treat anxiety and what follows, depression.
Some light solutions include routines of occupation like hobbies, exercise, going outside, or simply talking to someone, a close friend of a professional; others may include the use of heavy medication, or even the combination of both.
Psoriasis fatigue and mental illnesses don’t walk hand in hand together, but it’s more than certain that both at the same time can become unbearable.
Don’t despair. Take care of them one at a time, release your worries, and psoriasis fatigue will follow and eventually go away as well.
#14 Quit Smoking for Good
This will not surprise you: the negative health effects of smoking are numerous, but the truth is.. smoking also influences your psoriasis.
On average, smoking doubles the likelihood of developing psoriasis, with the risk increasing proportionally with the number of cigarettes smoked per day.
Smoking aggravates psoriasis in different ways.
It weakens immune defense mechanisms and therefore promotes certain infections.
However, some streptococcal infections can cause flare-ups of psoriasis.
It also increases inflammatory activity. Since psoriasis is a chronic inflammatory disease, smoking is associated with an increased severity of psoriasis.
Smokers are twice as likely to have severe psoriasis as non-smokers and are less likely to experience remission periods.
Heavy smokers (already starting from 10 cigarettes/day) are more likely to have severe psoriasis, especially palmoplantar psoriasis.
Smoking increases the risk of cardiovascular disease and develops a metabolic syndrome (increased risk of heart attack, hypertension, bad cholesterol levels, diabetes).
These complications are strongly associated with psoriasis and could, therefore, worsen.
Finally, smoking reduces the effectiveness of biological treatments for psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis.
Both directly and indirectly, quitting smoking can help you with psoriasis.
Stopping smoking will reduce your body’s inflammatory activity, decrease your risk of developing future cardiovascular complications of psoriasis (heart attack, hypertension, diabetes, dyslipidemia, …) and improve your quality of life.
Another benefit of avoiding cardiovascular co-morbidities is that it will allow you to access more drug therapies to treat your psoriasis. Indeed, hypertension (for example), which is promoted by smoking, is contraindicated to certain psoriasis treatments.
Stopping smoking will, therefore, allow you to be treated more effectively.
Start reducing at your own pace, but if you can, quit it as soon as possible.
#15 Fight Dehydration Drink More Water
We are on average made from 70% of water, and as such there is a constant need in our body for hydration.
With lower water percentage, our skin becomes dry and fragile, losing its capacity to defend itself against other germs and pathogens but also against natural elements like the heat from the sun, dirt, cold weather, and so on.
All this can contribute to extreme fatigue; your body will need to produce more defenses and heat to fight possible threats.
If your body temperature becomes unbalanced along with skin rashes and infections, it is expected to start over-working to maintain its normal functions properly.
Stay always hydrated, and you’ll probably never reach critical dehydration level; if you feel thirst, you’ve let it gone too far.
Set several reminders or use any app to remind you about drinking water; your body and your skin will thank you daily.
#16 Check for Allergies
Performing a general check is always a good idea, but checking for allergies is a must as well.
The body response against allergies leads you to swelling of the nasal tissues, and with bad breathing, the feeling of dizziness and tiredness can arrive.
The best scenario is to detect them and evade the symptoms before they invade you back; the soon you know what you are allergic to, the sooner you can avoid situations that you are faced with that type of contamination.
Psoriasis fatigue often comes disguised in form of other foes, but if you have the chance to know your body well, that leaves less room for that psoriasis fatigue so settle in.
#17 Sit Less and Move More
Our lives became more sedentary with the introduction of smartphones, social networks, and some other commodities in daily life.
Jobs are now done in the majority behind desks, and this technological change in our society had a huge impact on our physiological genetics. We were made for walking and exercising our bodies.
When you become sedentary and out of shape, your body starts to store fat, and you become heavier.
Walking becomes more difficult, breathing becomes inefficient, and these are enough reasons to be exhausted and fatigated, let alone with psoriasis bursts.
A good countermeasure is to walk at least 10 minutes daily (ideally 30 min); you don’t need to go outside. You can do it on the stairs of your apartment or your house.
If you don’t have stairs, you can always do squats and some other types of exercises.
Even if your mobility is somehow limited, there is always some sort of work-out that you can do for it. To be in shape is to have more energy and therefore less tired.
#18 Have Some Vitamins
Keeping vitamins balance in our body is not something easy to do, having to much sweet fruit and you’ll have fructose excess which leads you to overweight, and having vitamin deficit can lead you to extreme fatigue.
We already know that the skin needs on average 10-15 min of (cautious) sunlight per day in order to produce precious vitamin D for yourself.
But nevertheless is always good to compensate with a few others around it.
Having vitamins to help you restore that balance (and therefore your energy) doesn’t mean it’s a bad idea.
Consult your doctor or nutritionist to check your needed frequency cap and if that can help you restore energy from all your psoriasis exhaustion drain.
#19 Don’t Use Sleeping Pills
Sleeping pills are a necessary evil, some people can live without them, but the truth is… Sleeping pills alter your circadian rhythms, and that is a huge problem.
If you end up sleeping during the day, you won’t be doing your daily stuff, and if you are awake at night, you are somehow limited by your societal surroundings.
This sends mixed signals to your body’s circadian rhythms, ending up overloading its main functions and worsening your psoriasis condition, with fatigue, among other bigger problems.
Ideally, you should replace those pills with something natural and introduce them to go along with the flow of the day/night cycles.
Combining natural alternatives with an active life leads to less body and mind fatigue; this is not a mere fix, it’s a lifestyle you should embrace to fight chronic fatigue from hitting you hard.
What About Patients With Rheumatoid Arthritis Fatigue?
When you have rheumatoid arthritis, your immune system, which normally fights infection, attacks your joints’ lining.
They swell, become stiff and painful. This symptom is always accompanied by permanent fatigue.
What are the causes of this fatigue, and what are the solutions to fight against it?
Fatigue is a symptom of rheumatoid arthritis in its own right.
In addition to the inflammatory pain and other symptoms caused by this rheumatic disease with an autoimmune component, fatigue is a frequent complaint of patients, who must learn to live with it on a daily basis.
An effective treatment that reduces the activity of the disease will normally alleviate fatigue.
Why do You Feel Tired When You Have Rheumatoid Arthritis?
The causes of this fatigue are multiple.
First of all, fatigue can be linked to the substances emitted by the immune system during inflammatory flare-ups, which totally exhaust the body.
Fatigue can also be caused by chronic inflammatory pain in the joints.
There are two forms of fatigue in people:
Physiological fatigue, which follows an effort or a constraint and decreases when the patient rests;
Pathological fatigue, which has nothing to do with effort or rest, and which has a psychological (difficulty concentrating, holding things in, irritability, feelings of sadness…) and emotional (on social and family life…) impact.
Thus, fatigue can be the result of anxiety or depression that usually occurs during a chronic illness. It can also be a sign of anemia, poor nutrition, or other cumulative illnesses (diabetes, hypertension, etc.).
Note: the fatigue felt really depends on the situation of each patient: how he/she lives or manages his/her illness, misunderstanding on the part of the entourage…
Rheumatoid Arthritis and Sleep
Inflammatory pain, which occurs at all stages of the disease and at all times of the day (but still diminishes in remission), is sometimes nocturnal.
As a result, they disrupt sleep, which becomes poor quality and fatigues the person with RA.
In fact, several studies have shown the link between sleep, pain, and fatigue: pain can disrupt sleep, not to mention the stress associated with pain anxiety, which can also affect sleep quality.
Beware of Physical de-Conditioning
Fatigue can lead to a vicious circle from which it is difficult to escape. In fact, when a person with rheumatoid arthritis is tired for various reasons, they tend to move less, be less physically active, and be less active in general.
The physical difficulties caused by the disease (joint stiffness, reduced mobility, pain) lead to decreased physical capacity and do not help break this vicious circle.
In order not to remain at a dead-end, several treatments exist, including sports and certain medications that help fight fatigue.
Which Are the Solutions Against Rheumatoid Arthritis Fatigue?
Exercise, medication and proper diet.
Why Is Exercise Necessary?
It is known that exercise energizes the body. In an attempt to act on fatigue in rheumatoid arthritis, teams of researchers have shown that physical activity is an effective solution. It has proven to:
- Significantly reduce fatigue;
- Improve functional capacities and muscular strength;
- Reduce or even stop taking anti-inflammatory drugs and corticosteroids;
- Improve states of depression, anxiety, and stress.
Tips for Exercising With Rheumatoid Arthritis
Caution: When suffering from RA, certain movements are difficult, even painful.
Here are some practical tips to help you adapt your physical activity to the disease:
During periods of inflammatory flare-ups, it is best to spare the affected joints.
This does not contraindicate the practice of exercise in general: for example, you can continue walking even if your shoulders and wrists hurt;
Outside of periods of inflammatory flare-ups, if you wish to start a physical activity, contact your doctor or rheumatologist to carry out a check-up to evaluate your cardiovascular capacities: he or she will then be able to carry out an adapted program;
If you already practice exercise or physical activity, you are not obliged to stop it, however, you must adapt it to reduce the stress on the painful or fragile joints (shorter sessions, different exercises, etc.);
The activities most often recommended are swimming, cycling and walking.
They are easy to practice, they are “gentle” on the joints and they improve cardiovascular conditions.
However, many other exercises are possible, depending mainly on your physical condition and illness.
The exercises you should avoid are exercises done with a ball (except golf), exercises that contain jumps and/or throws, jogging, mountain biking, stepping, weightlifting, and horseback riding.
But once again, this list should be considered according to your illness symptoms: for example, don’t deprive yourself of running if you don’t have pain in your leg joints.
For an effective basic treatment for rheumatoid arthritis, the first solution is to eliminate fatigue. The objective of these treatments is to bring about a partial or even total remission of the affected person (but so far are not able to cure it).
Biotherapies have proven their effects, even if they remain expensive and difficult to access. Other disease-modifying drugs are available alternatives.
Symptom treatments can help in the sense that they alleviate pain (corticosteroids, anti-inflammatory drugs, etc.), which is one of the causes of fatigue.
Today, healthcare professionals advise to begin in-depth treatment as soon as possible after the discovery of rheumatoid arthritis, if possible as soon as the disease is diagnosed.
The earlier the treatment is started, the better are the chances of remission.
A Balanced Diet
A good diet is obviously recommended: the Mediterranean diet (more fish, more legumes, less red meat, and less starchy foods) is recommended because it acts on fatigue.
More generally, a healthy lifestyle is the most important aspect for people suffering from a chronic disease.
Mental Fatigue and Solutions
Sophrology and breathing…
Other methods have been proven to fight against fatigue during RA: sophrology, relaxation, breathing exercises…
These techniques help to cope with daily stress and anxiety. Contrary to medication, which “puts the disease symptoms to sleep,” they offer a real soothing effect on the body and mind.
According to an article in the Cochrane Scientific Review, “psychosocial (speech-based) therapy offers a small benefit in the management of fatigue in people with rheumatoid arthritis”, whether in individual or group therapy.
An English study also highlights cognitive-behavioral therapy’s benefits: psychological support and relaxation techniques that help people better manage their fatigue.
Don’t hesitate to get help if you feel the need, and always talk to your doctor about the fatigue you feel. Fatigue is better understood today, so it is better understood and treated in cases of rheumatoid arthritis.
“Polyarthrite rhumatoïde : Peut-on vaincre la fatigue ?”, polyarthrite-rhumatoïde.fr Last update October 2016 https://wearepatients.com/2016/10/07/polyarthrite-rhumatoide-on-vaincre-fatigue/
“Ma douleur et ma fatigue”, Site Mieux Vivre Ma Polyarthrite Last update April 2017 http://www.mieux-vivre-ma-pr.com/mieux-comprendre-gerer-maladie/douleur-fatigue/
“PR et fatigue”, Association française des polyarthritiques & des rhumatismes inflammatoires chroniques (AFPRIC) Last update May 2013 http://af-polyarthrite.net/nl16/nl16_PR_et_Fatigue.html
“Interventions non pharmacologiques pour la prise en charge de la fatigue signalée par les patients dans la polyarthrite rhumatoïde”, Cochrane Review Last update October 2020 https://www.cochrane.org/fr/CD008322/interventions-non_pharmacologiques-pour-la-prise-en-charge-de-la-fatigue-signalee-par-les-patients-dans-la-polyarthrite-rhumatoide