Arthritis can be defined as one of the most common forms of disorders to affect the joints, generally characterized by stiffness, pain and swelling of joints. There are about a hundred different varieties of this disorder that affect people all over the globe, especially people above 40 years of age. Inflammatory polyarthritis is one of the many forms of arthritis.
What is Inflammatory Polyarthritis?
Inflammatory polyarthritis is a category of arthritis that affects multiple joints of the body and is accompanied by stiffness, pain and swelling. This disorder can affect people of all age groups and is associated with autoimmune conditions. Polyarthritis often leads to polyarthralgia, which is described as pain in multiple, usually four or more, joints in the body. Hence, it can be said that this disorder involves a pattern of pain involving four or more joints accompanied by stiffness and swelling.
Signs and Symptoms of Inflammatory Polyarthritis
Inflammatory polyarthritis comes packaged with certain signs and symptoms that might help one to identify the situation.
- Painful swelling, a feeling of warmth and tenderness in the joints are the most common symptoms associated with inflammatory polyarthritis.
- Extended periods of morning stiffness along with stiffness after long durations of inactivity in multiple joints of the body which improves with activity are also signs of inflammatory polyarthritis.
- Inflammatory polyarthritis may also involve fever and loss of weight.
Inflammatory Polyarthritis and Associated Conditions
There are certain other conditions that are generally associated with inflammatory polyarthritis. Certain other conditions associated with acute inflammatory polyarthritis include-
- Serum sickness
- Connective tissue disease
- Viral arthritis
- Palindromic rheumatism
- Rheumatic arthritis
- Arthritis triggered by the use of certain drugs
- Rheumatic fever
- RS3PE or Remitting Seronegative Symmetric Synovitis with Pitting Edema
Conditions associated with chronic inflammatory polyarthritis include-
- Undifferentiated polyarthritis
- Polyarticular Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Mixed Connective Tissue Disease
- Inflammatory osteoarthritis
- Adult Still's Disease
Causes of Inflammatory Polyarthritis
Auto-immune disorders such as, amyloidosis, lupus erythematosus, rheumatoid arthritis, psoriatic arthritis and the like are considered to be one of the prime causative factors of inflammatory polyarthritis. It is also possible to develop this condition as a result of certain infections such as, chikungunya virus, Ross River virus, alphavirus and the like.
Diagnosis of Inflammatory Polyarthritis
Physicians use a combination of medical tests and physical examination to determine if the condition that a person is suffering from is inflammatory polyarthritis. CRP and sedimentation rate are the two most common medical tests used for diagnosing inflammation. However, in order to distinguish between and ascertain the type of arthritis, patients are made to undergo serologic tests. X-rays and other imaging tests are also conducted to identify the extent and the affected area.
Treatment of Inflammatory Polyarthritis
It is essential to start an early treatment for inflammatory polyarthritis in order to relieve oneself from the painful swelling and stiffness to an extent. Physicians are likely to prescribe non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs or NSAIDs to help with the pain and swelling and certain other anti-rheumatic drugs or DMARDs in order to slow down or stop the progress of the disease so as to not damage the joints. Corticosteroids may also be used in order to stop the inflammation that may lead to damage the joints or certain internal organs. However, this is a rare occurrence.
It is important to go through a proper diagnosis of inflammatory polyarthritis in order to initiate early treatment and avoid further damage. Certain changes in lifestyle are also required for overcoming the situation and living a healthy life.