Reactive arthritis is an inflammatory condition that causes pain and swelling in your joints. Although it can affect many different joints. it usually starts in the small joints of your fingers or toes. The exact cause of reactive arthritis isn’t known, but it seems to run in some families.
Research shows that certain things may trigger symptoms of reactive arthritis:^ Being bitten by a bug such as a mosquito or flea
Being exposed to an allergen such as house dust mite or cat hair
A viral infection, such as Epstein-Barr virus (the cause of mononucleosis) or coxsackievirus B3
An injury to the joint.
Reactive arthritis (also known as rheumatoid arthritis) is an autoimmune disease that causes the immune system to attack the joints in the body. This can cause pain, swelling, and redness in a person’s joints. It can affect any joint, but most commonly attacks small, semirigid knuckle-joints called collateral ligaments.
Reactive arthritis is different from osteoarthritis: The symptoms of reactive arthritis are more specific to joint inflammation. Osteoarthritis is a general name for cartilage damage and degeneration of the joint due to age or athletic use.
What causes reactive arthritis?
Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease that causes the immune system to attack the joints in the body. In most people with rheumatic disease, the cause is unknown. It can affect any joint, but most commonly attacks small, semirigid knuckle-joints called collateral ligaments.
The condition is autoimmune, meaning the body mistakes its own healthy tissues for a dangerous invader. The immune system produces antibodies to attack and destroy these tissues. Rheumatic diseases are most commonly autoimmune diseases of the small joints, including the fingers, wrists, toes, and eyes.
They are also more common in women than in men. A rare inherited form causes signs and symptoms in children before age 5. There are many causes of rheumatic diseases, but all cases develop after an attack of the immune system.
The body makes antibodies that attack various tissues in the joints and other organs. Rheumatic diseases can be severe and life-threatening, but they are seldom caused by a bacterium or virus.
They are more likely to occur in people who have a weakened or abnormal immune system, such as those with HIV/AIDS, cancer, diabetes, or other autoimmune diseases. Other causes of rheumatic diseases include:
What are the symptoms of reactive arthritis?
The symptoms of reactive arthritis can vary greatly and can be different in each joint. Some of the symptoms may include:
(1). Rheumatic pain in the joints, most commonly in the small joints of the fingers and wrists. This is known as joint swelling or joint stiffness.
(2). Swelling may affect any joint, but most commonly attacks small, semirigid knuckle-joints called collateral ligaments.
(3). Pain may worsen at night and during rest.
(4). Limb may be swollen and painful to move, bend, or use.
(5). Damage to the collateral ligaments may cause the fingers to be bent in a “claw” or “hook” position or to turn in on themselves.
Diagnosis of reactive arthritis
The diagnosis of rheumatic arthritis is based on symptoms and a complete medical history, including a review of systems. The doctor will want to rule out other possible causes of rheumatic symptoms and joint damage.
There are two types of blood tests that can be done to diagnose rheumatic diseases. Anti-dsDNA and antinuclear antibody (ANA) blood tests can be used to detect a response to a rheumatic disease. rheumatoid factor (RF) is a protein that appears in the blood of most people with rheumatic diseases and may be used to diagnose rheumatic diseases. RF is found most often in people with rheumatic diseases of the joints, but it can appear in other autoimmune conditions as well.
Treatment of reactive arthritis
Several medications can help reduce the symptoms of reactive arthritis and prevent joint damage. These drugs are called disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs (DMARDs). The medications can take several weeks or months to work, and their effects may last for several years. It can be helpful to talk with a rheumatic disease specialist about the appropriate treatment for you.
Non-drug treatments for rheumatic disease include physical therapy, exercise, joint immobilization, splinting, and hot or cold packs. Current research suggests that continuing to do these things may help prevent joint damage caused by rheumatic diseases.
Prognosis of reactive arthritis
The prognosis for reactive arthritis depends on what is causing the disease. Rheumatic diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis are more likely to get worse over time, while osteoarthritis may stay the same.
The progression of rheumatic diseases may be slowed with medication and proper joint care. With proper treatment, the fingers and toes of people with rheumatic diseases may stay flexible and allow for normal function. Unlike other types of arthritis, the prognosis for people with rheumatic diseases is better when treatment is started early.
Home remedies for rheumatoid arthritis pain
It is important to remember that home remedies for rheumatic arthritis should not be used as a substitute for proper medical treatment. The most effective treatment for rheumatic diseases is a comprehensive treatment plan that includes both medications and non-drug therapies.
The most common type of treatment is called pharmacological therapy. The goal of pharmacological therapy is to change the immune system so it no longer attacks joints. Biologic therapies, such as rheumatoid factor-blocking drugs, are the newest type of treatment for rheumatic diseases.
Rheumatic diseases are painful, disabling conditions that affect millions of people worldwide. The symptoms of reactive arthritis can be debilitating, and often people are not diagnosed or treated early enough to prevent damage to the joints.
Rheumatic diseases are more common in older age groups and among people who have underlying medical conditions such as HIV/AIDS, cancer, or diabetes. Preventive measures, such as staying active and maintaining a healthy body weight, can reduce the risk of acquiring these diseases.