There are more than a hundred different types of arthritis, with each form affecting differing areas of the body, having different root causes and at times symptoms that cannot be found in the other forms of arthritis. The common symptoms of all forms of arthritis, however, is joint pain and difficulty resulting from damage to the connective tissues of the joints. Because each form is different, proper diagnosis is required in order to get correct treatment.
One of the forms of arthritis that gives doctors difficulty in diagnosis is seronegative arthritis. This disease is actually a collection of different forms of arthritis that have symptoms that are similar to rheumatoid arthritis. This similarity is what makes the different forms of seronegative arthritis sometimes be misdiagnosed as rheumatoid arthritis, but there are distinct differences between them.
The main difference, and the reason for the name "seronegative" is that those with rheumatoid arthritis are found to have the autoantibody called rheumatoid factor, while those with seronegative arthritis are found not to have this autoantibody. This, combined with an analysis of the different symptoms, can lead to a proper diagnosis of whether the form of arthritis present in an individual is rheumatoid arthritis, or one of the types of seronegative arthritis.
As previously mentioned, there are different forms of seronegative arthritis, and each of these forms affect different areas of the body. As with rheumatoid arthritis, seronegative arthritis does not only attack the joints, but also different organs of the body, which again is one reason that the two can often be confused with each other.
Examples of this disorder include but are not limited to: psoriatic arthritis, Reiter's syndrome or reactive arthritis, and ankylosing spondylitis.
Psoriatic arthritis is a result of psoriasis, which is a chronic skin condition. Up to thirty percent of those with psoriasis will eventually develop psioriatic arthritis about ten years after developing psoriasis. This form of arthritis is inflammatory in nature, and has five different types, which can further complicate diagnosis.
Reiter's syndrome or reactive arthritis is caused by a bacterial infection. Often this form of arthritis is difficult to diagnose, as the infection that caused the arthritis has often been cured or in remission by the time the symptoms are observed. In most cases, reactive arthritis is a temporary condition, though up to twenty percent of those who develop reactive arthritis will develop a chronic form of this disorder.
Ankylosing spondylitis is a seronegative arthritis that affects the spine. It typically affects young males, aged twenty to forty, who will first experience chronic pain in the lower spine. This pain often spreads throughout the spine, into the neck, and may also affect the ribs, shoulder blades, hips, thighs and heels. Often those with this disease also feel fatigue, experience fever, and may be anemic as well. Up to forty percent experience inflammation of the eye as well.