Facts About Arthritis and Vasculitis

Rheumatoid Arthritis and vasculitis can often appear in conjunction with one another due to the fact that arthritis is an immune system disease that can cause damage to blood vessels, causing vasculitis.  When rheumatoid arthritis attacks blood vessels vasculitis can often result, causing visible damage to the skin.  While this has not been proven those with vasculitis often already have arthritis, hence the conclusion therein.  Vasculitis can be a symptom of an immune system disorder, while rheumatoid arthritis is an immune system disorder.  This cause and effect relationship is the hallmark of a patient having both disorders at once.

Rheumatoid Arthritis is an immune system disease that affects the joints of a person’s body initially and then has the potential to move into the organs.  While most people think that arthritis is exclusively responsible for aches and pains in all actuality it is much more than that.  Arthritis causes a patient’s immune system to act against their body, causing damage to various systems and even organ failure (possibly death).  Joint pain is the primary symptom many think of when considering whether or not someone has arthritis.  Rheumatoid Arthritis has no known cure, it is treated by either suppressing a patient’s immune system with medications or treating the symptoms caused by arthritis.

Rheumatoid Arthritis or RA is the most painful and sometimes deadly form of arthritis because of the immune system malfunction that occurs within a patient’s body.  Organ failure and other problems that arise from an immune system disorder are often life changing events, this is why those with RA should stay up to date on what the disease is doing so that they can receive the proper medical care.  Lupus can occur alongside RA causing hair loss, renal failure and respiratory problems.

Furthermore the more serious disorders attributed to arthritis and other less serious (although extremely painful) disorders such as gout fall under the umbrella of arthritis.  Gout may not be life threatening (as RA can be), however it can be debilitating in light of the fact that it can cause joints to swell to the point that they cannot be used, rendering some immobile since gout often occurs in the feet.  Psoriasis is another form of arthritis and much like RA is an immune system disorder than causes a body’s immune system to attack its own cells.  Psoriasis can eventually lead to psoriatic arthritis, causing pain in skin and joints as well as organ damage.

Arthritis is the most common disabling disease in the US.  There are over 20 million people living with the pain of arthritis every day.  Arthritis is the number one reason for lost wages and medical visits to free clinics, it is the most expensive and common chronic illness in America.  Many of those who develop arthritis no longer wish to work or leave their homes, often they apply for Social Security or other social programs.  Arthritis is a condition that if cured the whole world would stand to benefit, a good deal of people are guaranteed to develop the condition as they become older.

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.