Be Proactive About Reactive Arthritis



Reactive arthritis, more commonly known as Reiter's Syndrome, is a type of arthritis categorized by swelling, redness, and heat in the joints, especially spine, and inflammation of other joints, the urinary tract, and the eyes. Reiter's Syndrome belongs to a family of arthritic conditions know as spondylarthropathies, which commonly affect the spine. Patients who suffer from Reiter's Syndrome experience fever, swelling, ulcers around the mouth, weight loss, sores on the skin, and pain in the joints. Like many other forms of arthritis, this condition often affects a person terribly for a period of time and then seems to disappear. Reiter's Syndrome patients often have a series of attacks, which is followed by a period of symptom-free time. Unfortunately, this condition almost always returns after a few months.

As with many of today's debilitating diseases, Reiter's Syndrome has no known cause and can affect anyone of any age, gender, or race. However, researchers do believe that Reiter's Syndrome is due in part at least to genetics, as tendencies seem to run in families. About 75% of people who suffer from Reiter's Syndrome have a specific gene that is shown to help contribute to the condition. Most commonly, this painful disease affects young men who are white and between the ages of 20 and 40. Reiter's Syndrome also has been known to develop after certain infections in the small intestines, genitals, or urinary tract. It is commonly linked to salmonella contamination, so you can take measures to avoid this condition by being sure your foods are thoroughly and properly cooked.

Because this disease affects a number of parts of the body, a variety of treatments must be used to help patients live more normal lives. Medications such as NSAIDS, which block pain and stop inflammation in joints, may be used. Antibiotics and skin medications are also useful to clear up the painful sores that form on the body. Those who suffer from Reiter's Syndrome also may see urologists to deal with urinary tract infections, occupational therapists to learn how to best help their joints in everyday life, dermatologists to clear up skin problems, and physical therapists to teach exercises that can be done to reduce pain and swelling in the joints. Patients may also wish to see doctors specializing in eyes, since this condition commonly causes inflammation in this area of the body as well. If you or someone you love has recently been diagnosed with Reiter's Syndrome, also called Reactive Arthritis, learn as much as you can about its symptoms and treatment options so that you can learn how to best live your life while dealing with this painful disorder.


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