If you have psoriatic arthritis, getting enough fluids is a healthy habit that may reduce some of your bothersome symptoms. Good hydration is necessary for many parts of the body to function properly, including the joints and skin.
Psoriatic arthritis (PsA) is an inflammatory condition that affects up to 30 percent of people with psoriasis, according to the Cleveland Clinic.
When Cynthia Covert feels dry or overheated, her psoriatic arthritis pain and stiffness go into overdrive. “I feel like a Tin guy from The wizard of oz‘,” says Covert, who writes the blog Diva disabled.
Covert often uses an electric wheelchair when visiting places that require a lot of walking, such as theme parks. “[So] It’s hard to know when you’ve gone a long time without drinking water,” she says.
Related: 6 unusual signs of dehydration you should know
Although staying well hydrated may require deliberate effort on your part, you may find it worth it. Here’s what you need to know about how proper hydration can be beneficial for people with rheumatoid arthritis.
Drinking water helps relieve joint pain and promote joint health
It’s important to keep your joints in tip-top shape if you have psoriatic arthritis. Water helps maintain all of your body’s functions, many of which affect your joints.
“There are no research studies, to my knowledge, that study the effects of dehydration specifically in arthritis patients, but adequate hydration, in general, is important for joint health,” says Paras Karmacharya, MBBS, instructor in the department of rheumatology at The Medical Center. Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee.
Water is a necessary component of synovial fluid, which is a layer of fluid that lubricates joints and prevents friction when moving. Without enough water, your body may not produce enough of this fluid.
Additionally, hydration is necessary to keep the tissue of your joints lining — called cartilage — lubricated and healthy.
Dr. Karmacharia points out that adequate hydration is also important for the health of ligaments and tendons, which are often affected by psoriatic arthritis.
“Psoriatic arthritis itself should not make you more prone to dehydration. But we know that synovial fluid, cartilage cells, tendons, and ligaments all require water to reduce friction and maintain good movement between joints. Therefore, not drinking enough water can lead to joint pain,” As Karmacharya says.
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According to the Arthritis Foundation, proper hydration will flush toxins from the body, which may reduce inflammation.
Hydration and the health of your skin
Many cells and tissues of the body are made of fluid. In fact, about 64 percent of your skin is made of water.
Although studies on this topic are limited, there is reason to believe that drinking plenty of water keeps the skin hydrated, which may reduce psoriasis symptoms in people with psoriatic arthritis. Psoriasis is characterized by an itchy, scaly, patchy, red rash.
A small study published in the journal Clinical, cosmetic and investigational dermatology Compare people who are moderately dehydrated with people who get enough water. The researchers examined two groups of women: one group consuming less than 3.2 liters of water per day and the other consuming more than 3.2 liters of water per day. When the placebo group added 2 liters of water per day for one month, the researchers noticed that it improved their skin’s physiology.
However, more research is still needed to confirm the link between water consumption and skin health.
Psoriatic arthritis medications and drinking water
The treatments you take for psoriatic arthritis can affect your body’s hydration levels.
Karmacharya says that commonly prescribed medications, such as methotrexate and apremilast (Otezla), can cause diarrhea in some patients. This, in turn, can lead to dehydration if [you’re] Not sufficiently hydrated to account for fluid loss,” he says.
People who take these medications may want to be extra vigilant about consuming enough water throughout the day.
Water may help you lose weight
Consuming enough water may aid weight loss efforts, which may be beneficial if you have psoriatic arthritis.
Some studies show that people who drink water mostly consume fewer calories per day. Drinking water instead of sugar-sweetened beverages or fruit juices may also prevent long-term weight gain.
Related: 9 Psoriasis Arthritis Friendly Weight Loss Tips
Research published in the magazine Arthritis research and treatment In 2019 it was found that losing 18 percent of body weight can lead to a significant reduction in joint pain, swelling and fatigue for obese women with psoriatic arthritis.
Signs of dehydration in people with psoriatic arthritis
Dehydration occurs when you do not have enough water in your body.
According to the Cleveland Clinic, some signs of dehydration are:
- Feeling tired or weak
- dry mouth or skin
- inflamed skin
- Dark-colored urine or very little urination
How much water should you drink?
Your daily water intake may depend on your age, gender, activity level, and medications you take.
Although there aren’t any specific hydration guidelines for people with psoriatic arthritis, the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine recommend the following:
- Adult women consume 2.7 liters (about 11 cups) of total water per day
- Adult men consume 3.7 liters (about 16 cups) of total water per day
This total water intake doesn’t just have to come from drinks; The water in the foods you eat is also important.
Related: Hydration calculator: How much water do you need to drink per day?
Tips for staying hydrated with psoriatic arthritis
Sometimes simple actions can motivate you to stay hydrated. For example, Covert says that the type of container she chooses for her water helps keep it on track.
“Use a water bottle that can hold enough water for an entire day,” she suggests. “I like the kind with signs that say how much water you should have had at a certain time when I’m away from home.”
Karmacharya encourages his patients to use techniques that make drinking water a daily habit. “For example, drink a glass of water as soon as you wake up in the morning, or pair it with things you normally do, like having a glass of water after every bathroom break or every meal,” he explains.
Here are some other ideas for staying hydrated.
- Set the alarm. Simply setting your phone’s alarm can alert you when it’s time to drink.
- Add natural flavor. Sliced lemons and limes can enhance the flavor of the water.
- Eat water-dense foods. Foods like salads, watermelon, and soups contain a lot of water.
- Use an app. Daily Water Free or Daily Water Track your water consumption.
- Avoid alcohol and caffeine. These substances can dehydrate you.
- Drink fluids in the heat. You are more likely to become dehydrated in hot weather, so be sure to drink plenty of water if you are exercising or in the sun.
The epitome of hydration, psoriatic arthritis, and your health
Staying hydrated may help reduce symptoms in people with psoriatic arthritis.
Water plays a major role in helping your body perform important functions. Your joints and skin may feel healthier if you consume enough fluids. Drinking water may also help you keep your weight under control.
“Small, healthy habits can add up to a huge benefit in the long run,” says Karmacharya.
but don’t drink very more water. According to the Cleveland Clinic, too much of it can lead to a potentially dangerous condition known as hyponatremia, which dilutes the sodium in your body.
Your health care provider or dietitian can help you set water consumption goals if you have psoriatic arthritis.