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Psoriatic Arthritis and Fatigue: Connecting the Dots

Feeling tired and worn out after a hard day’s work is a common experience. But exhaustion that often goes beyond the regular tiredness can be worrying.[1] When this constant exhaustion accompanies a chronic condition like Psoriatic Arthritis, you know it’s time to act.

Fatigue is a term used to describe an overall feeling of tiredness, contributing to lack of motivation and energy. It is commonly associated with many medical conditions, including Psoriatic Arthritis. Studies suggest that moderate fatigue is present in almost half of the people with Psoriatic Arthritis, with an additional 25% suffering from severe fatigue. This results in a greatly reduced ability to do daily tasks and live an active life.[1][2]

In this blog, we will address the question that bothers almost every patient with Psoriatic Arthritis, “Why do I feel so tired all the time?”

Fatigue and Psoriatic Arthritis often go hand in hand; the only difference is that Psoriatic Arthritis has mostly visible symptoms, while fatigue is definitely invisible and hence often ignored.

If you are living with a chronic condition like Psoriatic Arthritis, it is important to be aware of the various causes of fatigue. This can help you take active steps to communicate about it and manage it better.

What causes fatigue?

Fatigue can be caused due to different factors, ranging from inflammation and pain to sleep disorders, flare-ups and other associated conditions. Here’s a list of the most common causes of fatigue.[3][4]

1. Inflammation

Psoriatic Arthritis is an autoimmune condition that involves inflammation (swelling of joints) which is often associated with fatigue.[5] Researchers have discovered that inflammatory conditions like Psoriatic Arthritis lead to the release of inflammatory chemicals like cytokines, which can result in ‘fatigue’.5,6.[5][6]

Inflammation

Flare-ups (a period when the symptoms increase or worsen) are also associated with worsening fatigue and can be attributed to the increase in inflammation.[4]

2. Pain

People with Psoriatic Arthritis battle pain every day and dealing with constant pain is another leading cause of fatigue. According to a study, pain was the main cause of fatigue in almost 15% Psoriatic Arthritis patients.[4]

PsA Pain
3. Loss of Sleep

Studies show that almost 68% people living with Psoriatic Arthritis experience poor sleep quality, which is often the result of aching joints. Lack of or poor-quality sleep includes – having difficulty falling asleep, frequently waking up at night and not feeling refreshed in the morning, all of which contribute to fatigue.[4]

PsA lack of sleep
4. Other associated causes

A condition like Psoriatic Arthritis is often associated with complications like depression and anemia, which in turn can worsen fatigue.[4]

Psa fatigue other causes
  • Depression: Psoriatic Arthritis can have a significant effect on a person’s mental health, eventually leading to depression. Fatigue is a common symptom of depression. Studies suggest that up to 90% people living with depression experience fatigue.[4]
  • Anemia: Various Psoriatic Arthritis related factors like inflammation or medication can cause anemia. Anemia or a shortage of iron in the body tissues and blood is an independent cause of fatigue and its association with Psoriatic Arthritis often worsens the severity of fatigue.[4]
What can be done?

Simple changes in living habits such as exercising regularly, following a bedtime routine, managing stress and taking medicines regularly can boost energy levels and help manage fatigue. However, if the fatigue worsens and starts impacting the ability to do daily tasks, consult a doctor immediately.[2][6]

pso fatigue what can be done

Talk to your Dermatologist
about biologics for clear* skin

*No plaque elevation, erythema or
scaling, hyperpigmentation maybe present.

References

  1. PAPAA. Psoriatic Fatigue. Available [online] at: https://www.papaa.org/learn-about-psoriasis-and-psoriatic-arthritis/further-resources/psoriatic-fatigue/ Accessed on 1st October 2021.

  2. Healthline. 15 Ways to Combat Psoriatic Arthritis Fatigue. Available [online] at: https://www.healthline.com/health/psoriatic-arthritis/ways-to-combat-psa-fatigue Accessed on 19th November 2021.

  3. Krajewska-Włodarczyk M, et al. Reumatologia. 2017; 55(3): 125–130.

  4. Verywell Health. Managing Fatigue and Energy with Psoriatic Arthritis. Available [online] at: https://www.verywellhealth.com/psoriatic-arthritis-fatigue-4770507 Accessed on 19th November 2021.

  5. WebMD. Inflammation. Available [online] at: https://www.webmd.com/arthritis/about-inflammation Accessed on 1st October 2021.

  6. Healthline. What’s the Connection Between Psoriatic Arthritis and Fatigue? Available [online] at: https://www.healthline.com/health/psoriatic-arthritis/fatigue Accessed on 19th November 2021.