Reactive arthritis is a chronic long lasting form of arthritis characterized by inflammation of the joints, eye inflammation, as well as inflammation of the urinary, genital or digestive systems. This form of joint inflammation is called reactive arthritis because it is believed to be due to a reaction of the immune system (autoimmune attack) against infectious agents (bacteria and chlamydia most often) present in the body’s listed systems. The immune system is genetically predisposed to a hyperactive immune response in contact with certain bacteria causing infections of the genitourinary system and the intestine. The abnormal immune defense system leads to spontaneous inflammation (without direct presence of infectious agents) in the joints and eyes.
The inflammatory reaction in joint and ocular tissues may be present in parallel symptoms of urinary tract infection and digestive tract infections, or may occur without any such infection (the patient may have recurrences of inflammatory bowel disease and intestine or Such that it has gone unnoticed by him). Most common joint inflammation develops after the tip of a genitourinary or intestinal infection – an average of 1 to 3 weeks thereafter.
Reactive arthritis, which is also known as Reiter syndrome, is considered a systemic rheumatic disease. The disease can cause inflammation in organs other than joints – eyes, mucous membranes of the mouth, skin, heart, kidneys and lungs.
The reactive arthritis symptoms can be divided into complaints originating from affected joints and surrounding tissues and complaints originating from other affected organs.
Complaints originating from inflammation of joints and surrounding tissues.
The joints most commonly affected by inflammation in reactive arthritis are the knee, ankle, wrist and small joints of the foot. Usually, the involvement is asymmetric and one or several joints in the body are affected. The inflammation of said joints is manifested by pain, stiffness, swelling, warmth, and less frequent flushing. The inflammation may include all joints and tissues on one finger (the arm or the foot), resulting in complete swelling, minor knee injury can be observed in the psoriatic Arthritis and Behterev’s disease.
The inflammation of the spine can cause stiffness and pain with limitation of movements in the neck, the back or the entire back The inflammatory process can also affect the cartilage – most often it is seen in the cartilage around the sternum, where the front edges of the ribs are attached to it, causing pain in the chest area. The inflammatory process often affects also the places where muscle tendons are trapped for bones (tendinitis, insertion). This causes spontaneous soreness and severe pain in the reduction of certain muscles and muscle groups.
Complaints arising from the interference with other organs.
Inflammation of the white part of the eye (conjunctivitis) and the colored part iris occur frequently in the early period of the reactive arthritis, and may indicate a wavy movement. The conjunctivitis can occur painfully or painlessly, only with reddening of the eye and increased slurred secretion, while inflammation of the iris usually causes severe pain, intensifying when focusing on bright eyes.
The inflammation of the urinary tract usually affects the lower part of the urethra. Most commonly the urethra (the bladder duct that opens at the top of the member or between the small labia), which is manifested by burning and stinging in the urination and / or leakage of lumpy matter from the opening and the head Of the member. The lining and the skin around the head of the member can be red and macerated; Bladder affection causes frequent urination and a feeling of blistering. Prostatic inflammation (prostatitis) occurs with blunt pain at the back of the pelvis and severe pain in ejaculation (ejaculation).
The formation of open lumps on the hard and soft palate, and often in the tongue, which often remain unnoticed as they do not cause pain. The inflammation of the colon manifests itself with diarrhea, the presence of pus or blood in the stools, as well as urgent walking commands.
Inflammation of the aorta occurs very rarely and can cause insufficient closure of the aortic valve lining, return of blood from the aorta to the left ventricle and heart failure.
Very rarely, the inflammatory process can affect the heart-conducting system (the system whereby the electrical signals for the contraction of the heart muscle) are created, with the formation of dysfunctional connective tissue leading to irregular heart rhythm and the need for implantation of artificial heart Stimulant (pacemaker).