Relapsing Polychondritis Treatment in San Antonio, TX
The term chondritis refers to inflammation of the body's cartilage. The recurrent inflammation and deterioration of the body's cartilage is called relapsing polychondritis, a degenerative disease which is frequently accompanied with painful joint deformity. Tissues containing cartilage that become inflamed by relapsing polychondritis include the ears, nose, joints, spine and trachea. The precise cause of relapsing polychondritis is not yet determined. It is believed to be an autoimmune disease, caused when the body's natural defense against "foreign" or invading organisms (antibodies) mistakenly attack healthy tissues.
Relapsing polychondritis poses a particular risk to your health and can be life-threatening if it affects the respiratory tract, heart valves or blood vessels. The pain associated with cartilage inflammation may compromise your quality of life. Schedule a consultation with a Relapsing Polychondritis Specialist in San Antonio to reclaim your livelihood. Call (210) 361-0581 or contact R Family Medical Group online.
Relapsing Polychondritis Symptoms
Symptoms of relapsing polychondritis typically arise when autoantibodies attack human cartilage, and at the onset of the disease, patients experience sudden pain. Symptoms exhibited by patients suffering from relapsing polychondritis include redness, swelling and tenderness in one or both ears, the throat, joints and eyes, as well as fever, fatigue and weight loss.
Furthermore, depending on the areas affected by relapsing polychondritis, aesthetic deformity or functional loss can be experienced. These areas can include:
- Ears: Patients’ ears may become deformed to look floppy. Additionally, patients might experience hearing loss, issues with balance and nausea due to inflammation of the inner ear.
- Nose: Patients’ nose may become deformed and have been described as having a saddle nose appearance
- Trachea: Inflammation of the trachea can cause coughing, vocal hoarseness, shortness of breath and difficulty breathing.
- Joints (including those of the hands, knees, ankles, wrists and feet): Inflammation of the joints (arthritis) can cause pain, swelling and stiffness of the joints.
- Eyes: Mild to severe, eye inflammation can cause damaged vision.
- Aorta: Inflammation of the aorta can lead to aneurism or aortic valve weakness.
Relapsing Polychondritis Diagnosis and Treatment
A relapsing polychondritis diagnosis will be made when your healthcare provider identifies a pattern of cartilage degradation notable in your medical history (including ongoing symptoms) and conducts a physical examination. Blood tests can indicate inflammation such as an elevated erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR) and C-reactive protein, among others that present abnormally. A biopsy of your tissue cartilage can demonstrate nonspecific signs of inflammation.
Treatment can vary depending on the extent of your condition. For mild cases, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), including ibuprofen (Motrin) and naproxen (Naprosyn) may help control your inflammation. Cortisone-related medications (steroids such as prednisone and prednisolone) will likely be prescribed. High-dose steroids may also be prescribed, especially when the eyes or breathing airways are involved. Most patients require steroids for long-term use. Additionally, dietary changes to support your overall health will likely be recommended by your healthcare provider. A relapsing polychondritis diet that has been developed is known as the McDougall Program, a low-fat vegan diet that eliminates all dairy products, eggs meat, fish and chicken. Anti-inflammatory foods are also encouraged, including fiber-rich foods, cruciferous vegetables and omega-3 fatty acids.
Relapsing Polychondritis Prognosis
Relapsing polychondritis poses a serious health risk, especially if the respiratory tract, heart valves or blood vessels are affected, as it can be life-threatening. Recurrent inflammation of the cartilage frequently causes permanent destruction of the involved tissues and can result in disability. On the other hand, for some patients, the disease is far milder and, with close monitoring of symptoms of a qualified healthcare provider, outlook is improved dramatically.
Relapsing polychondritis warrants prompt medical intervention. If you're experiencing any of the aforementioned symptoms, schedule a consultation with a Relapsing Polychondritis Specialist in San Antonio to ensure your livelihood is preserved. Call (210) 361-0581 or contact R Family Medical Group online.
R Family Medical Group
Address3110 Nogalitos St
San Antonio, TX 78225
8:00 am - 5:00 pm
Tue: 8:00 am - 5:00 pm
Wed: 8:00 am - 5:00 pm
Thu: 8:00 am - 5:00 pm
Fri: 8:00 am - 5:00 pm
Sat: 8:30 am - 1:00 pm