Reactive arthritis or Reiter’s Syndrome is a chronic form of arthritis with three conditions:
This form of arthritis is "reactive arthritis" because it is like the immune system that is reacting to the presence of bacterial infections in the genital tract, urinary or gastrointestinal tract. As a result, due to faulty genes the immune system of some people readily responds when they are exposed to certain bacteria resulting in inflammation in the joints and eyes.
- Inflammation of the joints
- Inflammation of the eyes (conjunctivitis
- Inflammation in the genital area, urinary tract or gastrointestinal tract.
Reactive arthritis often affects patients in their 30s or 40s, but can occur at any age. The form of reactive arthritis, which occurs following a genital infection (STI), occurs more frequently in men. The arthritis that develops after intestinal infections (dysentery) occurs at the same frequency in men and women.
Reactive arthritis is considered a systemic rheumatic disease. This means it can also affect other organs or the joints, causing inflammation in tissues such as skin, eyes, mouth, kidney, heart and lungs. Reactive arthritis can be associated with other diseases such as psoriatic arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis and rheumatoid arthritis, Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis. Each of these conditions can cause similar arthritic inflammation of the spine and other joints, eyes, skin, mouth and other bodies. Because of the similarities and tendency to affect the spine, these conditions are collectively referred to as "spondyloarthropathies."