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How Can I Prevent a Psoriatic Arthritis Flare? A Q&A with Dr. Ogdie

By Beth W. Orenstein
Reviewed by Ethan T. Craig, M.D.
May 12, 2023

This article is part of a Q&A series in which a healthcare professional in our community answers your frequently asked questions.

We asked: “My psoriatic arthritis causes painful flares. How do I manage them or stop them from happening?”

Alexis Ogdie, M.D.: A flare-up is a period of acutely worsening symptoms. The symptoms of psoriatic arthritis flares can vary from person to person. There are also triggers—certain things that can increase likelihood of a flare—which can vary from person to person and can change throughout your life. Some common things that may trigger a psoriatic arthritis flare include:

  • Stress
  • Injury or illness
  • Not taking medications on time or as prescribed
  • Smoking, gaining weight, or eating fried or sugary foods
  • Drinking large amounts of alcohol

What Are Tips for Managing Psoriatic Arthritis Triggers?

To help you identify your triggers, you can keep a symptom diary over time. Write down what you were doing in the days leading up to a psoriatic arthritis flare, and then look for any patterns. For example, maybe you had a lot of work stress recently, or you indulged in one too many drinks at a party.

Knowing your triggers is important so that you can avoid them as much as possible.


If stress is a trigger, for example, look for ways to minimize or manage stress. That could involve seeing a counselor or therapist, or taking mindfulness classes. Regular exercise also can help to manage stress and potentially prevent a flare. (On the other hand, if you are experiencing a flare, you may want to take it easy with exercise and give your body time to heal.)


If getting sick with a virus is your trigger, take steps to avoid illnesses, such as washing your hands and wearing a mask in public. Stay up to date on vaccinations.

Changes in Medication

Adhere to your medication schedule, as well. Sometimes changing the medications you’re taking for other conditions can cause a flare. Talk to your doctors if you have this issue.


If certain lifestyle habits are causing flares, look for ways to do things differently, such as by improving your diet and quitting smoking. Also, be sure to get quality sleep.

What Else Should I Remember?

Talk to your doctor about your flares. Work out a plan so that you know when you need to call your doctor about a psoriatic arthritis flare and when you can manage it on your own. If you’re flaring often, you and your doctor might decide it’s time to adjust your medications to help prevent or reduce future flares.

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