By Wendy Sarubbi | September 30, 2013 10:54 am

Dr. Shazia Beg, an assistant professor at the UCF College of Medicine and a rheumatologist at UCF Health, the college’s physician practice, joined forces with the Arthritis Foundation and the National Psoriasis Foundation to help those with psoriatic arthritis “Be Joint Smart.” The Orlando stop of this traveling educational event was held  September 21, at the Orlando Museum of Art.

Psoriatic arthritis is a chronic, inflammatory disease of the joints and connective tissue that affects up to 30 percent of those diagnosed with psoriasis. Psoriatic arthritis can develop at any time, but most commonly appears between the ages of 30 and 50.

Dr. Beg’s talk focused on the impact of psoriatic arthritis to joints and overall health, successful disease management strategies, and the value of preventative care to limit the progression of joint damage.

The five types of psoriatic arthritis includes:

  • Symmetric arthritis
  • Asymmetric arthritis
  • Distal interphalangeal predominant
  • Spondylitis
  • Arthritis mutilans

Dr. Beg explained that 30-50 percent of patients experience inflammation in the tendons of the fingers and toes, often referred to as “sausage digits.” And one in three people have inflammation involving tendon and ligament insertions into the bone. Other common symptoms include heel tenderness, and difficulty with the elbows and bottoms of the feet.

Many treatment options include lifestyle choices, explained Dr. Beg. She recommends that patients pace exercise to reduce fatigue, rest joints when stressed, choose healthy food options, reduce stress whenever possible, practice positive self-talk and incorporate physical therapy into their routines.

She also discussed pharmacologic treatment options like taking NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs), DMARDs (disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs) and biologic agents (also in the DMARD category).

Dr. Beg was joined by J. Matthew Knight, MD, FAAD, medical director of the Knight Dermatology Institute in Orlando. Dr. Knight discussed the importance of maintaining a healthy diet, especially one that helps reduce inflammation. Smart food choice options include those rich in Omega-3 fatty acids like cold-water fish (salmon, mackerel, sardines and herring) and walnuts; flax, pumpkin and sunflower seeds; monounsaturated-rich fatty foods like avocados, olive oil and nuts; leafy greens and colorful vegetables; and fresh fruit.

To emphasize the importance of movement to maintain a high quality of life, the event included a breakout exercise session called “Let’s Get Moving” by certified instructor Claudia Laine.


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