The fourteenth of series of Autoimmune Disorders. My reasons for this series is twofold. First, to make people aware of the many Autoimmune Disorders and to give some history of the well known or more prevalent ones. It is noted that 1 in 5 Americans have been diagnosed with at least one Autoimmune Disorder, of which 75% are women. Second, allowing people to be aware, especially those who are affected by Autoimmune Disorders, that they don’t need to live with the residual aches and pains, inflammation, stress, depression, and anxiety. There are alternative options that work alongside conventional therapies. My focus, as a Reiki Master Teacher & Practitioner and Wellness Advocate, is to educate and better help those who are suffering needlessly. I teach a class on the benefits of Reiki Energy Healing for those who have been diagnosed with Autoimmune Disorders. For more information and to register, please contact me at 860-357-5263.
Reactive arthritis, formerly referred to as Reiter’s syndrome, is a form of arthritis that affects the joints, eyes, urethra (the tube that carries urine from the bladder to the outside of the body), and skin.
The disease is recognized by various symptoms in different organs of the body that may or may not appear at the same time. It may come on quickly and severely or more slowly, with sudden remissions or recurrences.
Reactive arthritis primarily affects sexually active males between the ages of 20 and 40. Those with HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) are at a particularly high risk.
What Causes Reactive Arthritis?
The cause of reactive arthritis is still unknown, but research suggests the disease is caused, in part, by a genetic predisposition: Approximately 75% of those with the condition have a positive blood test for the genetic marker HLA-B27.
In sexually active males, most cases of reactive arthritis follow infection with Chlamydia trachomatis or Ureaplasma urealyticum, both sexually transmitted diseases. In other cases, people develop the symptoms following an intestinal infection with shigella, salmonella, yersinia, or campylobacter bacteria.
What Are the Symptoms of Reactive Arthritis?
The first symptoms of reactive arthritis are painful urination and a discharge from the penis if there is inflammation of the urethra. Diarrhea may occur if the intestines are affected. This is then followed by arthritis four to 28 days later that usually affects the fingers, toes, ankles, hips, and knee joints. Typically, only one or a few of these joints may be affected at one time. Other symptoms include:
- Mouth ulcers
- Inflammation of the eye
- Keratoderma blennorrhagica (patches of scaly skin on the palms, soles, trunk, or scalp)
- Back pain from sacroiliac (SI) joint involvement
- Pain from inflammation of the ligaments and tendons at the sites of their insertion into the bone (enthesitis)
How Is Reactive Arthritis Diagnosed?
Diagnosis of reactive arthritis can be complicated by the fact that symptoms often occur several weeks apart. A doctor may diagnose reactive arthritis when the patient’s arthritis occurs together with or shortly following inflammation of the eye and the urinary tract and lasts a month or longer.
There is no specific test for diagnosing reactive arthritis, but the doctor may check the urethral discharge for sexually transmitted diseases. Stool samples may also be tested for signs of infection. Blood tests of reactive arthritis patients are typically positive for the HLA-B27 genetic marker, with an elevated white blood cell count and an increased erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR) — both signs of inflammation. The patient may also be mildly anemic (having too few red blood cells in the bloodstream).
X-rays of the joints outside the back do not usually reveal any abnormalities unless the patient has had recurrent episodes of the disease. On an X-ray, joints that have been repeatedly inflamed may show areas of bone loss, signs of osteoporosis, or bony spurs. Joints in the back and pelvis (sacroiliac joints) may show abnormalities and damage from reactive arthritis.
How Is Reactive Arthritis Treated?
Bacterial infections, such as chlamydia, will need to be treated with antibiotics. Joint inflammation from reactive arthritis is usually treated with nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as naproxen, aspirin, or ibuprofen. Skin eruptions and eye inflammation can be treated with steroids.
Those with chronic disease may be prescribed other medications, including methotrexate. Patients with chronic arthritis also may be referred to a physical therapist and may be advised to exercise regularly.
What Are the Holistic and Alternative Modalities to help those with Reactive Arthritis?
Reiki Energy Healing is one of the holistic and alternative modalities to help decrease or release residual inflammation, aches and pains, and mental and emotional stresses due to chronic Autoimmune Disorders.
Reiki supports and enhances the body’s ability to heal itself. It works equally well whether it is used to help accelerate the body’s healing process while recovering from illness or as a form of preventive self-care.
It is one of the most powerful techniques known for alleviating stress, anxiety, and pain. It naturally creates deep states of relaxation and feelings of well-being.
Reiki supports and strengthens the immune system’s ability to fight infection of any kind, including viruses and bacteria.
It is not just for treating physical problems. It works with the body’s natural healing wisdom to restore states of inner peace and balance at all levels… physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual.
Those affected with Autoimmune Disorders quite often deal with stress, anxiety, depression, lack of self-confidence and self-esteem, toxic overload from pharmaceutical medications, lack of mobility, and/or decreased social activities. Reiki can release these symptoms, increase mobility, and facilitate a return to a healthier and happier lifestyle.
Other modalities may include Certified Pure Essential Oils, meditation, sound healing, pranic healing, crystal healing, EFT/Tapping, yoga, qi gong, acupressure/acupressure, floating, seeing a Naturopathic doctor, chiropractic, and dietary changes.
What Is the Outlook For People With Reactive Arthritis?
The prognosis for reactive arthritis varies. Most people recover in three to four months, but about half have recurrences for several years. Some people develop complications that may include inflammation of the heart muscle, inflammation with stiffening of the spine, glaucoma, progressive blindness, feet abnormalities, or accumulation of fluid in the lungs.
Information on Reactive Arthritis is from WebMD.com