Reactive Arthritis

A Summary of Reactive Arthritis

The condition known as reactive arthritis or Reiter’s syndrome is an autoimmune disease that occurs after an infection has taken place in another part of the body.  Both viral and bacterial infections can cause an occurrence of Reiter’s syndrome to manifest.  The symptoms caused by Reiter’s greatly resemble those caused by arthritis.  Even after the initial infection is cured Reiter’s disease can still occur for years afterward, this makes ascertaining the initial contraction of the disease difficult to pinpoint.  Symptoms of reactive arthritis do however generally take two to three weeks to be visible.

Reiter’s syndrome is named for a German doctor named Hans Reiter who contributed to the classification and definition.  The symptoms of Reiter’s syndrome greatly resemble arthritis, aching joints in the knees and back as well as eye irritation.  It is also possible to display external symptoms such as those associated with psoriasis via lesions and pain in joints near the foot, in some rare cases men can develop penile lesions.  Those most commonly affected by this disease are between the ages of 20-40 years old.  If the disease worsens over time reactive arthritis can cause cardiac problems as well.

Often reactive arthritis is caused by Chlamydia, an STD that is a bacterial infection.  Reactive Arthritis can manifest in the digestive system as a result of an infection from Chlamydia, such a manifestation resembles Crohn’s disease.  An MRI is sometimes necessary to diagnose Reactive arthritis conclusively in some cases.  It is important that you treat every infection your body goes through with the utmost urgency to avoid a possible complication such as Reactive Arthritis.  Remembering that reactive arthritis can often be avoided by addressing every infection with caution is a great way to stay out of harm’s way where this complication is concerned.

Women who contract reactive arthritis may go un-diagnosed, however some studies conducted have shown that less than 1 percent of women infected with Chlamydia develop reactive arthritis.  The arthritic symptoms can be treated with conventional anti-inflammatory drugs to soothe aches and pains.  In some cases among men there can be complications that affect the eyes in unusual cases of reactive arthritis.  In women there can be complications involving the genitalia much like with men, except that it can go inside the body cavity to affect the cervix.  Such complications in women can have adverse effects during pregnancy or sexual activity.

The genetic disposition towards reactive arthritis has been proven to occur in 75% of those who tested positive for the gene.  Reactive arthritis has been known to stop causing symptoms after the causal infection has been cured in some cases.  In other cases reactive arthritis can be recurring and cause symptoms for years after the initial infection has been cured.  In some cases the arthritis can in fact be debilitating and prevent those who suffer from the disease from completing everyday tasks.  While a few of those who suffer from arthritis can suffer from complications that can shorten their lifespan most will live full and relatively normal lives.