Reactive arthritis – a common disease but difficult to detect – VnExpress

Reactive arthritis is rarely mentioned because it is difficult to recognize and easily confused with other joint diseases, but if left untreated, it can lead to disability.

BS.CKI Nguyen Tan Vu, Orthopedic Trauma Center – Tam Anh General Hospital, said that reactive arthritis is a common condition but rarely mentioned because it is difficult to identify and easily confused with joint diseases. other. This disease occurs when there is no injury to the joint at all, but instead there is an infection in other organs.

Specifically, when there are signs of infection, the body will create antibodies against the bacteria that cause this condition. However, now, instead of attacking harmful bacteria in the infected organ, the antibody attacks the joints, causing an inflammatory response in the joints.

Reactive arthritis is more common in men than women. Image: Shutterstock

Reactive arthritis is a disease with genetic factors, related to the HLA – B27 gene. This is a gene that can give rise to many diseases related to joints such as reactive arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis, psoriatic arthritis,… Dr. Tan Vu said, if there is an abnormal HLA – B27 gene. People between the ages of 20 and 40, have an unhealthy sex life or unhygienic eating habits are more susceptible to disease outbreaks.

Although reactive arthritis has no obvious symptoms, the disease can be recognized through signs such as swelling, heat, redness, pain, in the joints, most commonly the knee and lower extremity joints; tendonitis such as tendonitis of the foot, achilles tendonitis; eye pain, red eyes; skin rash; painful urination; fever, fatigue, unexplained weight loss… After about 2-4 weeks since the patient has an inflammatory reaction in a certain organ in the body such as the digestive tract, genital tract, urethra … then the signs of reactive arthritis begin to appear.

The HLA-B27 test is one of the optimal methods for diagnosing reactive arthritis.  Photo: Shutterstock

The HLA-B27 test is one of the optimal methods for diagnosing reactive arthritis. Image: Shutterstock

To diagnose the disease, doctors can order blood tests, joint fluid checks, X-rays, MRIs, etc. Indicated to test for HLA – B27.

Fortunately, this disease is not a chronic condition, according to Dr. Tan Vu. Usually, reactive arthritis has a sudden onset, symptoms subside after 1-2 months and clears up within 1 year.

However, if the patient is subjective, does not comply with the doctor’s instructions as well as changes to healthier living habits, it will make the disease more and more serious, affecting daily activities and even becoming disabled. In particular, if the disease has a high probability of recurrence, there is a risk of becoming chronic and developing ankylosing spondylitis.

Doctor Tan Vu advises patients.  Photo: Tam Anh General Hospital

Doctor Tan Vu advises patients. Image: Tam Anh General Hospital

Drugs indicated for the treatment of reactive arthritis include non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, which reduce pain and inflammation; or corticosteroids to reduce symptoms of inflammation and help muscles and joints work properly. The drug can be used in oral form or injected directly into the tendons, joints… Depending on the condition, the doctor may prescribe more appropriate physical therapy exercises. Although very rare, surgery may be required if reactive arthritis causes complications or recurs too many times, affecting quality of life.

Reactive arthritis is an inherited disease with two main causes for the onset of the disease: gastrointestinal infections and urinary and genital infections. Therefore, Dr. Tan Vu recommends that to prevent reactive arthritis, patients should eat cooked and drink boiling water, wash hands before eating, ensure food safety and hygiene. For urinary tract and genital infections, patients can prevent the disease by practicing safe sex, and seeing a doctor as soon as abnormalities are detected after sex.

Phi Hong


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