Reactive Arthritis (cont.)
William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR
Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.
Jerry R. Balentine, DO, FACEP
Dr. Balentine received his undergraduate degree from McDaniel College in Westminster, Maryland. He attended medical school at the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine graduating in1983. He completed his internship at St. Joseph's Hospital in Philadelphia and his Emergency Medicine residency at Lincoln Medical and Mental Health Center in the Bronx, where he served as chief resident.
In this Article
- Reactive arthritis facts
- What is reactive arthritis?
- What causes reactive arthritis?
- What are risk factors for developing reactive arthritis?
- What are reactive arthritis symptoms and signs?
- How is reactive arthritis diagnosed?
- How is reactive arthritis treated?
- What is the prognosis of reactive arthritis?
- Can reactive arthritis be prevented?
- What does the future hold for reactive arthritis?
- Find a local Rheumatologist in your town
What causes reactive arthritis?
As mentioned, reactive arthritis is felt in part to be genetic. There are certain genetic markers that are far more frequent in patients with reactive arthritis than in the normal population. For example, the HLA-B27 gene is commonly seen in patients with reactive arthritis. Even in patients who have the genetic background that predisposes them to developing reactive arthritis, however, exposure to certain infections seem to be required to trigger the onset of the disease.
Reactive arthritis can occur after venereal infections. The most common bacterium that has been associated with this post-venereal form of reactive arthritis is an organism called Chlamydia trachomatis. Reactive arthritis also occurs after infectious dysentery, with bacterial organisms in the bowel, such as Salmonella, Shigella, Yersinia, and Campylobacter. Typically, the arthritis develops one to three weeks after the onset of the bacterial infection. Reactive arthritis has also been reported associated with bladder infusions of BCG used for treating bladder cancer.
What are risk factors for developing reactive arthritis?
- Gender: Reactive arthritis is more frequent in men between 20 and 40 years of age.
- Hereditary factors: There are inherited genes, such as HLA-B27, that increase the risk for developing reactive arthritis.
- Further risk factors include sexual promiscuity and exposure to bacteria that cause dysentery.
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