Reactive Arthritis by Dr. Humeira Badsha

Reactive arthritis was formerly called Reiter’s syndrome. It usually occurs in response to an infection. It is characterized by swollen, painful joints. In addition redness and discharge from the eye (conjunctivitis) and discharge or redness from the penis or cervix may be noticed. Although any infection can cause this it most commonly occurs after an acute episode of diarrhea (caused by Campylobacter, Salmonella, Shigella and Yersinia) or genital infection caused by Chlamydia. Occasionally it is triggered by viruses. It occurs because the body’s police, the immune system gets activated to fight the infection. However, instead of becoming quiet after the infection is controlled it continues to attack the body and joints.
The management is usually with NSAIDs (anti-inflammatories). Occasionally the arthritis can become long-standing and require more medications such as sulfasalazine or methotrexate.
This is one of a set of articles by Dr. Humeira Badsha, Specialist Rheumatologist, for patient awareness.

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