Reactive arthritis is one type of arthritis which affects the joints of the body. The immune system “reacts” to a bacterial infection which strikes the urinary tract genitals or gastrointestinal system. This reaction can be puzzling because symptoms can occur after the infection clears. Another name for this disorder is Reiter’s Syndrome. It may also lead to inflammation of the eyes mouth and other organs as well. Here is a look at symptoms of this condition and effective treatments.
Symptoms Of This Type Of Arthritis
A person may feel symptoms of this disorder a few weeks following the initial trigger. They may be felt in the muscles reproductive system or through outward manifestations on the skin.
- Musculoskeletal: When bones and muscles are affected a person may feel pain in the joints heels and lower back. Swelling in the ankles fingers and toes are also possible.
- Urinary And Reproductive Issues: A person may develop pain while urinating inflammation of the cervix or prostrate and an increased need to empty the bladder.
- Outward Signs: The eyes mouth and skin may develop inflammation rashes and ulcers.
Causes And Risk Factors Associated With Reactive Arthritis
There are many circumstances which may lead to this form of arthritis.
- Genetics: Scientists have found a common gene which gives a person a predisposition to this disorder. Most times it will take a specific infection to trigger the disorder.
- Venereal Diseases: The most common bacteria linked to this disorder is a venereal variety. This means that having sex where bacteria is transmitted may lead to the onset of the condition.
- Gastrointestinal Infections: Dysentery and bacteria like Salmonella and Shigella are all known triggers to this condition.
How To Diagnose This Arthritis
There is no lab test that can confirm the presence of this arthritis however many blood tests will be performed. One test will look for the HLA-B27 gene which is present in numerous people with the disorder. Tests may also be used to rule out other conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis. A doctor will carefully examine the patient for skin issues and range of joint motion. X-Rays may also be performed to get a view of tissue bone and cartilage. Fluid samples may also be collected from joints to rule out other issues as well.
Treatment For This Kind Of Arthritis
To treat bacterial infections that cause the problem as well as to keep symptoms under control a doctor will prescribe an antibiotic and possibly:
- Corticosteroids: These drugs are injected into the affected joints to lower inflammation.
- NSAID Pain Relievers: These over the counter remedies are effective at lowering pain and inflammation as well.
Physical therapy may also be used to teach a person the best exercises that can heighten joint movement. One of the most popular ways to exercise with this condition is in the water. Water aerobics is low impact and may help to strengthen necessary muscles.
Ways To Prevent This Arthritis
Since many cases of this condition are possibly due to genetic factors the only way to prevent the disorder is to lower exposure to elements which trigger symptoms. It is always smart to properly store and prepare foods at the right temperature. This will avoid bacteria from forming and being ingested. It is also wise to practice safe sex.
Arthritis can be a very serious and painful condition. There are many causes of the condition. Reiter’s Syndrome is a special form which is triggered by infection and is influenced by a specific gene. In the end most reactive arthritis can be treated with medication and prevented with a few precautions.