April 11, 2008

Causes & Diagnosis of Reiters Syndrome

Posted in Category : Bone, Joint & Muscles Disorders

Reiters syndrome (Reactive Arthritis) is a form of arthritis that is associated with inflammation of joints which occurs generally 1-4 weeks after the infection in any body part and it is characterized by the asymmetric swelling in about 4 or less than 4 joints. This disease may give rise to the symptoms like joint pain, swelling and inflammation as well as other conditions like prostatitis, urethritis, cervicitis, cystitis along with eye problems such as conjunctivitis and even skin sores.

Generally, the sexually transmitted infections or infections of genitourinary or gastrointestinal tract are the main causes of Reiters syndrome (Reactive Arthritis). The sexually transmitted infections like HIV or Chlamydia, gastrointestinal pathogens including salmonella or shigella that cause diarrhea are responsible for development of Reiters syndrome. The symptoms of Reiters syndrome are found to be appeared about 1-3 weeks following the infection. The infection by Chlamydia trachomatis is most commonly associated with the Reiter’s syndrome that may be acquired through the sexual contact. The respiratory infection caused by Chlamydia pneumoniae may be a triggering factor for the Reiters syndrome. Besides this, several other bacteria related to the development of Reiter’s syndrome are Shigella, Salmonella, Campylobacter and Yersinia.

According to some researchers, a genetic factor HLA-B27 may be one of the possible causes of Reiters syndrome (Reactive Arthritis). This genetic factor causes the increased chances of developing the Reiters syndrome. About 80% of people having Reiters syndrome are found to be HLA-B27 positive.

Generally, men between the age group of 20-40 years are likely to develop the Reiters syndrome. This disorder is less common in women and its symptoms are more subtle and milder. This disorder is rarely found in the younger children, but possibly occur in the adolescents. The Reiters syndrome is usually not contagious, but the bacteria which may trigger this disorder can be transmitted from one person to another.

The diagnosis of Reiters syndrome is done on the basis of physical examination, symptoms and complete medical history of the patient. The tests like erythrocyte sedimentation rate, HLA-B27 and some tests used for detection of infections are suggested by physicians.

The treatment is decided on the basis of causes of Reiters syndrome (Reactive Arthritis). As various body parts are involved in this disorder, the patient should consult with various specialists such as rheumatologists, ophthalmologists, urologists, orthopedist, gynecologists, dermatologists and physiatrist for the treatment of respective infection.