Obesity 'makes recovery from psoriatic arthritis less likely'

Published on 16 January 2014
Obesity 'makes recovery from psoriatic arthritis less likely'

Psoriatic arthritis patients affected by obesity are less likely to see positive outcomes than those of normal weight, according to new research.

The University of Toronto has published a study in the Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases that assessed 557 patients to determine whether overweight people with psoriatic arthritis are less likely to achieve a sustained minimal disease activity state.

Patients were categorised into three groups - normal, overweight and obese - according to their body mass index, before being assessed at six to 12-month intervals from 2003 to 2012. Researchers were looking for improvements in symptoms affecting the skin, joints, pain levels and overall physical function.

Overall, it was found that 66.1 per cent of the patients achieved sustained minimal disease activity during the follow-up period, but those in the higher BMI categories were consistently shown to be less likely than those in the lowest BMI category, even accounting for all external variables.
 
This discovery could aid medical understanding of the progression of psoriatic arthritis, a painful inflammatory condition that affects around one-fifth of people with the skin condition psoriasis.
 
Typically, the main symptoms of psoriasis are red, flaky, crusty patches of skin covered with silvery scales that are itchy and sore, but those who go on to develop psoriatic arthritis will also suffer from inflamed, swollen, stiff and painful joints.
 
It usually develops within ten years of the original psoriasis diagnosis and can be extremely painful and debilitating. Patients are recommended to exercise regularly, refrain from smoking and drinking, and shed excess weight to manage the condition.
 
A spokesman for Arthritis Research UK commented: "For most people with all types of arthritis, achieving a sensible weight is desirable in order to reduce any excess strain on the joints."