Chronic Infectious Arthritis

Arthritis is the condition in which the joints are inflamed. One of the main symptoms is the loss of mobility and an eventual deformation of the affected area. It’s also known as septic arthritis. Chronic means that it is prolonged over time. The most affected places for any type of arthritis are joints, such as the knee or hip, but it also commonly affects the wrist and phalanges of the hands.

Causes

Chronic inflammatory arthritis can occur in two ways:

– A dirty trauma to a joint: By damaging and infecting, microorganisms will colonize and infect cartilage.

– An infection anywhere else in the body. The microorganisms settled in another injured area, reached the bloodstream and eventually made it’s way to the joints.

There are some circumstances that predispose the individual to suffer from inflammatory arthritis. Some examples are people who go through artificial joint implants, arthroscopies, surgeries or any type of trauma to a joint. People with certain types of chronic diseases such as diabetes or who are taking drugs that inhibit the immune system are also more likely to acquire this condition. Folks who use drugs intravenously are also more likely to suffer from arthritis, because it is likely that the injected material contains microorganisms.

The most common microbes that produce chronic inflammatory arthritis are staphylococci and streptococci, Mycobacterium, tuberculosis and Candida albicans. Chronic inflammatory arthritis is more common in children. Some circumstances that promote chronicity are the age and health of the joint prior to the infection. The initial response to antibiotics and the severity of the infection also influence greatly.

When dealing with a chronic condition, there will always be some basic symptoms that will become more evident during the so-called ‘exacerbation periods’. The most usual and frequent symptoms are severe joint and bone pain and joint stiffness along with signs of infection in the area like swelling, loss of function, low-grade fever and fatigue.

Symptomatically, there are a few differences depending on whether the infection was caused by a virus or bacteria.

Bacterial infection: is located in one or few joints and presents fever, chills, flushing and swelling and comes about very acutely. Inflammatory arthritis caused by bacteria are usually treated with antibiotics.

Virus Infection: affects multiple joints but pain and pronounced fever are commonly the only symptoms. Unlike their bacterial counterparts, viral infections begin gradually and are not cured with antibiotics, in the case of arthritis, symptoms usually disappear on their own.

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