Patient Education

REACTIVE ARTHRITIS

Reactive Arthritis

  • 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.