- Reactive arthritis is an sudden onset (acute) painful swelling of the joints take place
- It occurs usually after an infection episode such as diarrhea, Urinary tract infection (UTI)
- Mostly it affects large joints of the body i.e. knee, hip and ankle joints
- Some time it can progress to develop chronic (long term) arthritis with episodic flare up intermittently
- Reactive arthritis can also affect attachment of muscle to bone (Achilis tendenitis,enthesithis).
- Reactive arthritis seen in 30-40 yrs age group.
- 75% of reactive arthritis have a gene HLAB27 positivity
- Reactive arthritis (ReA) mostly takes place after an infection such as UTI (Urinary Tract Infection) or Dysentery (Bowel infection).
- Infection can trigger the immune system to attack the healthy cells such as joints.
- Reactive arthritis occurs after 1-4 wks. of infection.
- Around 75% of Reactive arthritis patients have HLA B27 positivity.
- Sometimes genetics play a role in the disease
- Reactive Arthritis is very rare and individuals with the age between 30- 40 are mostly affected.
- Men are more prone to the disease in comparison to women.
- People with HLA-B27 are most likely to be affected by Reactive Arthritis.
- Those have HLA B27 positive can develop persistent arthritis.
The arthritis has the following signs and symptoms-
- Individuals with reactive arthritis experience inflammation leading to stiffness and back pain.
- The pain can start quickly and become intense in no time.
- The disease affects feet, ankles, hips and knees.(Mostly joints of the leg)
- Patients will experience still, swollen and painful joints.
- The arthritis affects one side of the body (asymmetric)
- Whole digit can be swollened which is known as dactylitis
- People will generally feel tired and feverish.
- Patients might experience eye infection (Conjunctivitis).
- Skin rash and sores on the mouth can also be noticed.
- No single test can diagnose reactive arthritis
- Proper history and detail examination helpful for diagnose reactive arthritis
- Some time it might get confused with septic arthritis
- Always tell your doctor if you have recent history of UTI or dysentery.
- Consult a Rheumatologist who is expertise in inflammatory arthritis
Blood tests are normally done to check the inflammation and identify the HLA-B27 gene, but a blood test is not enough to diagnose a particular disease.
The following tests help in diagnosis:
- Complete Blood Count
- C-Reactive Protein (CRP)
- Erythrocyte Sedimentation Rate (ESR)
- Urine Re/Me, Urine culture
- HLA B27
- Reactive arthritis will not hamper the ability to become pregnant.
- Medications should be avoided during the effort made to become pregnant or breastfeeding.