There are certain diseases that are dependent on another type of infection or illness to trigger their occurrence. One of these diseases is reactive arthritis, also known as Reiter’s Syndrome. This type of arthritis is defined as being “reactive” because it is caused by another condition.
Reactive arthritis will only strike after someone gets afflicted by another sickness like a genital infection with chlamydia, a gastrointestinal infection, food poisoning, a bacterial infection or else.
This condition typically affects men between 20 to 40 years of age. Furthermore, white men are more prone to reactive arthritis than others. Although the exact etiology is unknown, there seems to be a genetic predisposition for Reiter’s syndrome.
They usually appear 1 to 3 weeks after the initial infection, but in some cases it can take up to 1 month or more. They may include:
- Inflammation of large weight-bearing joints, frequently in the lower extremities or lower back.
- Conjunctivitis, an inflammation of the eyes causing redness, pain and blurred vision.
- Urethritis or inflammation of the urethra. This will cause burning pain on urination and/or increased need to urinate.
- Rash under feet (keratoderma).
- Sores on sole, palm, mouth, penis.
- Fever may be present.
- Anorexia and weight loss.
Although there is no test for Reiter’s syndrome, clinical and laboratory tests will be conducted to identify the specific illness causing the reactive arthritis attack.
It will vary according to the severity of the symptoms and initial causing agent.
- Antibiotics if a bacteria caused the infection.
- NSAIDs like Advil, Motrin or Aleve for inflammation.
- Corticosteroids injection into the inflamed joint.
- Immunosuppressants (suppress the immune system) or TNF inhibitors (block inflammation process) for severe cases.
Patients usually recover after 2 to 16 weeks. Many have a complete remission with no joint lesions. However, in half of the cases reactive arthritis will recur or become a chronic condition.
The same advice given to all arthritis patients will apply regarding the lifestyle changes and natural treatment recommendations. People with reactive arthritis surely can maintain a good quality of life with modest adjustments.
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