Relapsing Polychondritis Treatment in Metro Atlanta

Overview of Relapsing Polychondritis

Relapsing Polychondritis (RP) is a rare, chronic disorder characterized by recurrent inflammation of the cartilage and other tissues throughout the body. This condition can affect various parts of the body, including the ears, nose, joints, and respiratory tract. RP can lead to cartilage damage, causing pain and deformities. Early diagnosis and treatment at Arthritis and Rheumatology of Georgia (ARG) are crucial for managing symptoms and preventing serious complications.

Symptoms of Relapsing Polychondritis

  • Ear Inflammation: Painful, swollen, and red ears that can become floppy due to cartilage damage.
  • Nasal Inflammation: Swelling and tenderness of the nose, leading to a saddle-nose deformity.
  • Joint Pain and Swelling: Inflammation and pain in the joints, particularly the large joints.
  • Eye Inflammation: Redness, pain, and blurred vision due to scleritis or uveitis.
  • Respiratory Tract Involvement: Hoarseness, difficulty breathing, and tracheal collapse due to inflammation of the cartilage in the respiratory tract.
  • Skin Rashes: Various skin issues, including red, raised nodules.

Diagnosis of Relapsing Polychondritis

  • Medical History and Physical Examination: Conducted by a rheumatologist at Arthritis and Rheumatology of Georgia to assess symptoms and check for characteristic signs of RP.
  • Blood Tests:
    • Erythrocyte Sedimentation Rate (ESR) and C-reactive Protein (CRP): Markers of inflammation.
    • Autoantibodies: To help rule out other autoimmune conditions.
  • Imaging Tests:
    • MRI or CT Scan: To assess inflammation and damage in affected tissues.
    • Pulmonary Function Tests: To evaluate lung function if respiratory symptoms are present.
  • Biopsy: A small sample of affected cartilage may be taken to look for signs of inflammation and damage.

Treatment Options for Relapsing Polychondritis

  • Medications:
    • Corticosteroids: High doses of corticosteroids are the primary treatment to reduce inflammation and control acute flare-ups.
    • Immunosuppressive Drugs: Such as methotrexate, azathioprine, or cyclophosphamide to control the immune system.
    • Biologic Agents: Such as infliximab or rituximab to target specific pathways in the immune response.
    • NSAIDs: Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs to relieve pain and reduce inflammation.
  • Therapies:
    • Physical Therapy: Exercises to improve joint flexibility and muscle strength.
    • Occupational Therapy: Techniques to perform daily activities safely and efficiently.
  • Lifestyle Changes:
    • Healthy Diet: Eating a balanced diet to support overall health.
    • Regular Exercise: Engaging in low-impact exercises to maintain strength and mobility.
    • Stress Management: Techniques such as mindfulness and relaxation exercises.

Living with Relapsing Polychondritis

  • Symptom Management: Using medications, therapies, and lifestyle changes to manage symptoms and reduce flare-ups.
  • Regular Check-Ups: Keeping up with appointments to monitor disease progression and treatment efficacy.
  • Support Systems: Seeking support from family, friends, or support groups to manage the emotional impact of living with a chronic disease.
  • Education: Learning about the condition and staying informed about new treatments and management strategies.

Frequently Asked Questions | Relapsing Polychondritis

What causes relapsing polychondritis?
The exact cause of RP is unknown, but it is believed to involve an abnormal immune response that leads to inflammation of the cartilage and other tissues.

Is relapsing polychondritis hereditary?
There is no clear evidence that RP is hereditary, though genetic factors may contribute to susceptibility.

Can relapsing polychondritis be cured?
There is no cure for RP, but its symptoms can be managed effectively with a combination of treatments.

How is relapsing polychondritis diagnosed?
Diagnosis involves a combination of medical history, physical examination, blood tests, imaging tests, and biopsy.

What lifestyle changes can help manage relapsing polychondritis?
Regular exercise, a healthy diet, stress management, and avoiding smoking can all help manage symptoms and improve overall health.

How can Arthritis and Rheumatology of Georgia help with relapsing polychondritis?
At Arthritis and Rheumatology of Georgia, we offer comprehensive care for RP, including diagnostic tests, personalized treatment plans, and ongoing management to reduce inflammation and improve quality of life.

Contact Arthritis and Rheumatology of Georgia

For comprehensive care for relapsing polychondritis, schedule an appointment with Arthritis and Rheumatology of Georgia. Call us at 404-255-5956 or use our online contact form. We proudly serve patients in the metro Atlanta area and beyond, providing expert care and personalized treatment plans.

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