Is Rheumatoid Arthritis different from Reactive Arthritis

Some health conditions are chronic; in the current scenario, it affects people of all age groups. Many people ignore it for a long time when it is too late for recovery; the situation is already out of hand — a timely visit to the doctor for a routine health check in case of any health hazard.

There is another way to know the health problem that using an application; Symptom Tracker that helps to provide regular symptom reports that is an advantage to both the doctors as well as their patients to know the kind of health problem for immediate treatment. This application is available in the Android/iOS mobile phone as well as their website for updating the symptom in it.

About the disease

Rheumatoid Arthritis

A health condition mainly affects the joints of the human body. It is a chronic inflammatory in nature and an autoimmune disorder. In some cases, it affects other body systems, including eyes, skin, lungs, heart, and blood vessels. It occurs when the immune system of the body mistakenly attacks their body tissues.

Reactive Arthritis

This health condition formerly refers to as Reiter’s syndrome or Reither’s disease. It is a form of inflammatory arthritis that causes joint pain and swelling due to an infection from a bacteria in some parts of the human body parts in intestines, genitals, or urinary tracts. It also affects other parts of the body, causing inflammation in eyes, joints, skin, etc.

This disease is not much common. The symptoms start showing up from 1 to 4 weeks after exposure to a triggering infection. Many researchers believe genetic factor causes this health condition.

Symptoms

The symptoms may vary differently in both this health condition.

Rheumatoid arthritis

Symptoms include:

  1. Swollen joints
  2. Stiffness in joints due to inactivity
  3. Fever
  4. Fatigue
  5. Loss of appetite

It affects the lining of joints of the human body, that eventually causes painful swelling resulting in bone erosion and joint deformity.

In some cases, the symptoms spread to other body parts in knees, wrists, ankles, elbows, etc. Even non-joint structures get affected in this disease that includes kidneys, nerve tissue, salivary glands, bone marrow, blood vessel, etc. Sometimes the pain and swelling of joints may fade for a while.

Reactive Arthritis

In the case of this disease, it shows few symptoms that include:

  1. Pain and stiffness in low back, buttocks, knees, feet, etc.
  2. Conjunctivitis (Eye inflammation)
  3. A problem in the urinary tract
  4. Swollen fingers and toes
  5. Skin inflammation

Causes

The causes in both diseases differ in a certain way.

Rheumatoid Arthritis Reactive Arthritis
The immune system of the body attacks the lining of the membrane surrounding the joint (synovium), causing inflammation.

 

Tendon and ligaments get weaker that hold the joint together.

 

Due to environmental factors such as infection from certain viruses and bacteria trigger this disease.

It develops in reaction to an infection in the body parts – intestines, urinary tract.

 

 

Infection from bacteria transmits sexually or in food contamination. This disease is not contagious.

 

Bacteria that cause this disease includes a few common ones are: Salmonella, Shigella, Campylobacter, Clostridium difficile, Yersinia, and Chlamydia.

 

Risk Factors

Common Risk factors that increase the risk of both these diseases

  1. Age

In the case of Reactive Arthritis, it frequently occurs in adults of age between 20 and 40, whereas Rheumatoid Arthritis, it happens at any age, mainly begins in middle age. Also, you can track Rheumatoid Arthritis with an app.

  1. Gender

Rheumatoid arthritis is more common in women than men compared to Reactive Arthritis; both men and women are equally affected in response to bacterial infection. Hence, men are more likely affected due to sexually transmitted bacteria.

Risk factors of Rheumatoid Arthritis

  1. Obesity

Obese or overweight increases the risk of developing this disease.

  1. Cigar Smoking

It increases the severity of this disease to further health complication.

  1. Environmental exposure

Exposure to Silica or asbestos has a high chance of developing this health condition.

  1. Family History

It increases the risk of the disease in case any one of the family members has rheumatoid arthritis,

  1. Other diseases

The increased risk of developing this disease is more in case of Osteoporosis(Bone weakening), heart problems, lung disease, lymphoma(blood cancer), etc.

The risk factor of Reactive Arthritis

Heredity

HLA –B27, inherited gene increases the risk of developing this health condition.

Diagnosis

The doctor may suggest conducting specific tests to diagnose to rule out other health condition. It is challenging to diagnose due to similar signs and symptoms in case of both these diseases.

Sl.no Rheumatoid Arthritis Reactive Arthritis
1 Blood test: checking ESR (erythrocyte sedimentation rate) or C-reactive protein (CRP). No one blood test confirms this disease. Other standard blood tests for anti-cyclic citrullinated peptide (CCP) antibodies. Blood test: a sample of blood tested for any sign of inflammation, antibodies associated with other types of arthritis disease, current infection, etc.
2 X rays, MRI scan, and ultrasound tests of joints help to track the progression and severity of this disease. X rays of pelvis, joints, and low back indicates any signs of this disease that helps to rule out other conditions.
3   Joint fluid tests help to check the white blood cell count, bacterial infection, and Uric acid crystals.

How to heal the disease

Doctors may try to manage the symptoms of both these diseases with different treatment options.

 Treatment options Rheumatoid Arthritis Reactive Arthritis
1. Medications Prescribing medications related to relieving pain and inflammation such as Steroids, to slow the progression of this disease DMARDs (Disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs, etc. No cure in case of this disease. Treating skin rashes with medicine such as topical steroids etc. Anti-inflammatory drugs to reduce the inflammation and pain of reactive arthritis.
2. Therapy Occupational therapy to help joint flexibility. Physical therapy for muscles and joints.
3. Other options Doctors may take surgery as another option. Operations on Tendron repair, joint replacement, stabilizing joint, synovectomy (removal of synovium- the inflamed lining of the joints), etc.  

With the help of Symptom Tracker application, it provides a detailed report to the doctor about their patients regarding treatment methods.

Author: Robin Gupta