May 26, 2008

Reiter’s Syndrome (Reactive Arthritis) & Ankylosing Spondylitis

Posted in Category : Bone, Joint & Muscles Disorders

Reiter’s syndrome (reactive arthritis) & ankylosing spondylitis are different forms of arthritis which cause pain and inflammation of the joints. Ankylosing spondylitis is a form of arthritis that is characterized by chronic inflammation of sacroiliac joints (the joint between pelvis and spine) and spine, while Reiter’s syndrome causes pain and inflammation of the joints, eyes, skin, genitals and mucus membranes. Both these forms of arthritis are caused by different reasons and can be treated by various medications and other treatment options.

There are some similarities between Reiter’s syndrome (reactive arthritis) & ankylosing spondylitis. Both these forms of arthritis are systemic, that means they involve some body organs other than joints. Reiter’s syndrome affects the joints as well as skin, genitals, eyes, bladder and mucus membrane, while ankylosing spondylitis can cause the inflammation of heart, eyes, kidneys and lungs. Both types of arthritis are more common in men than in women and most frequently observed in men below the age group of 40 years. The people with HLA-B27 genetic factor are more susceptible for Reiter’s syndrome as well as for ankylosing spondylitis. Inflammation and pain in joints are the common symptoms of both these types.

The symptoms of Reiter’s syndrome (reactive arthritis) & ankylosing spondylitis may be different and they are diagnosed and treated in different ways. Regarding the symptoms of Reiter’s syndrome, the people having this disorder may experience pain in the heel, tenderness and swelling of ankle or knee, swollen fingers or toes or pain and inflammation of the Achilles tendon. In addition to that, the patient may develop prostatitis, urethritis, cervicitis, conjunctivitis or cystitis. On the other hand, fatigue, Inflammation of spine resulting in stiffness and pain in low back, neck, upper buttock area and remainder of spine, chronic stooping, restricted expansion of chest, loss of appetite, weight loss, inflammation of eyes and bowl inflammation are some symptoms of ankylosing spondylitis.

For the accurate diagnosis of Reiter’s syndrome (reactive arthritis) & ankylosing spondylitis, symptoms, medical history and physical examination of the patient is very essential. Various blood tests performed for the diagnosis of ankylosing spondylitis are C-reactive protein (CRP), Erythrocyte Sedimentation Rate (ESR) and Complete Blood Count (CBC), while in case of Reiter’s syndrome, the blood tests like determination of antinuclear antibodies (ANA) or rheumatoid arthritis (RF) are done to rule out other types arthritis as the results of these tests are usually normal in the Reiter’s syndrome. Besides this, determination of HLA-B24 gene is an important test for the diagnosis of these both types of arthritis. In addition to these lab tests, X-findings, CT (Computerized tomography) and MRI (Magnetic resonance imaging) scan are helpful to detect the inflammation and change in bones and joints.

Reiter’s syndrome can be treated using a combination of exercise, bed rest, corticosteroid injections, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, topical corticosteroids, antibiotics and immunosuppressive medicines, while the treatment for ankylosing spondylitis includes the medications like non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs, corticosteroids and tumor necrosis factor blockers as well as physical therapy.