Diseases > Psoriatic Arthritis | PsA > Diet, Work and Lifestyle
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Diet, Work and Lifestyle for People with PsA
Questions about diet and arthritis are very common. We all want to know what we can do to help ourselves. Can we change our diet to improve our immune system and help our arthritis? Changing our diet gives us a sense of control over a disease which often seems to have a mind of its own.
Unfortunately, there is no diet that has been proven to significantly alter the course of PsA or other types of arthritis or psoriasis. Following the basics of healthy eating can help improve health and well-being in everyone, including those with PsA. Keeping a healthy weight can help reduce the load on your weight-bearing joints including the spine, knees and hips.
Work and Travel
How can PsA affect my job/career?
The pain and stiffness caused by PsA can sometimes limit people’s normal activities, including work. But there are things you can do to lessen the impact of PsA on your work and daily routine. If your work involves physical labour, it’s important to learn how to protect your joints. A trained arthritis physiotherapist can help.
If you have a job where you sit for much of the day, adjusting features of your workplace can help make working with PsA easier on your joints. For example, adjusting the position of chairs and desks for proper posture can help. You can also make adjustments to the seat of your vehicle to make driving more comfortable and reduce the stress on the joints in your spine.
Traveling with PsA
Traveling is still possible when you have PsA. It is best to be organized prior to your trip to ensure a smooth, comfortable, and enjoyable time.
Many of us like to share a glass of wine, a beer, or a spirit from time to time. Unfortunately, due to the nature of PsA, some people may turn to alcohol to help cope with the pain and distress. Furthermore, people with psoriasis, including PsA, tend to be heavier and have fattier livers. This can cause problems when treating psoriasis or PsA with certain medications.
The bottom line is that alcoholic beverages are not an effective treatment for PsA. Besides, there are so many effective treatments available for PsA, you don’t need to try to manage your illness with alcohol.
Cigarette smoking, whether you have PsA or not, has no positive effects on any aspect of your health. Smoking can be especially harmful to people with PsA whose upper spine or whose tendons in the ribcage are affected by the disease. That’s because when the joints or tendons in the chest are inflamed, it’s harder to breathe in deeply. Smoking is also another risk factor for heart disease, like PsA itself. If you are a smoker with PsA, you have at least two risk factors that increase your chances of developing heart disease. Quitting could be one of the best things you can do to improve your overall health.
Although PsA does not particularly cause a loss of sex drive, it can cause pain, fatigue and emotional hardships. These hardships can create barriers to sexual needs, ability and satisfaction. Take comfort knowing that sex and intimacy can be maintained in people with PsA … it can even draw partners closer together, especially through improved communication between mates.
For more information on intimacy and arthritis, a great book is Rheumatoid Arthritis: Plan to Win by Sheryl Koehn, Taysha Palmer and John Esdaile.