Spondyloarthropathies are a family of long-term (chronic) diseases of
joints. These diseases occur in children (juvenile spondyloarthropathies) and
adults. They include
Reiter's syndrome (reactive arthritis),
psoriatic arthritis, and joint problems linked to
inflammatory bowel disease (enteropathic
arthritis). Spondyloarthropathies are sometimes called spondyloarthritis.
Although all spondyloarthropathies have different
symptoms and outcomes, they are similar in that all of them:
It is important to recognize that the spondyloarthropathies
are different from
rheumatoid arthritis (RA) in adults and
juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA) in children.
know what causes spondyloarthropathies. The presence of a particular
gene, HLA-B27, is often associated with ankylosing
spondylitis. Spondyloarthropathies, especially ankylosing spondylitis, are more likely to run in families than
other forms of rheumatic disease, such as
lupus or rheumatoid arthritis.
Although spondyloarthropathies all result in joint pain,
each type also has specific symptoms.
A general difference between spondyloarthropathies and
juvenile spondyloarthropathies is that in adults, the spine generally is
affected, while in children the arms and legs are more frequently affected.
Children may have 4 or fewer joints that are painful or swollen (typically the
knees or ankles), inflammation of a part of the eye (iritis), and
neck pain and stiffness.
Spondyloarthropathies may cause
inflammatory eye disease, particularly
uveitis. In some cases, spondyloarthropathies can
cause disabilities, particularly if bones in the spine fuse together. People
who have spondyloarthropathies for a long time may develop complications in
organs, such as the heart and lungs.
Spondyloarthropathies are diagnosed through a medical history, lab
tests, imaging tests such as an X-ray or MRI, and by symptoms of joint and tissue inflammation, morning stiffness, and
other symptoms unique to a specific spondyloarthropathy (such as scaly skin in
psoriatic arthritis). Different types of tests may be done for the different
cases, spondyloarthropathies are mild and may be undiagnosed for many years.
Most people do not have trouble with daily activities. Treatment is focused
on relieving pain and stiffness and on good posture and stretching of the
affected areas to prevent stiffening and deformity.
Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are
commonly used to treat pain and inflammation linked to
spondyloarthropathies. Other treatment options depend on the type of
spondyloarthropathy you have. For example, medicines are used to treat
intestinal inflammation in enteropathic arthritis.
Be safe with medicines. Read and follow all instructions on the label.
The American College of Rheumatology (ACR) and the
Association of Rheumatology Health Professionals (ARHP, a division of ACR) are
professional organizations of rheumatologists and associated health
professionals who are dedicated to healing, preventing disability from, and
curing the many types of arthritis and related disabling and sometimes fatal
disorders of the joints, muscles, and bones. Members of the ACR are physicians;
members of the ARHP include research scientists, nurses, physical and
occupational therapists, psychologists, and social workers. Both the ACR and
the ARHP provide professional education for their members.
website offers patient information fact sheets about rheumatic diseases, about
medicines used to treat rheumatic diseases, and about care
This website is sponsored by the Nemours Foundation. It
has a wide range of information about children's health—from allergies and
diseases to normal growth and development (birth to adolescence). This website
offers separate areas for kids, teens, and parents, each providing
age-appropriate information that the child or parent can understand. You can
sign up to get weekly emails about your area of interest.
The National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal
and Skin Diseases (NIAMS) is a governmental institute that serves the public
and health professionals by providing information, locating other information
sources, and participating in a national federal database of health
information. NIAMS supports research into the causes, treatment, and prevention
of arthritis and musculoskeletal and skin diseases and supports the training of
scientists to carry out this research.
The NIAMS website provides
health information referrals to the NIAMS Clearinghouse, which has information
packages about diseases.
The Spondylitis Association of America (SAA) is a national
nonprofit organization. It is dedicated to the cure of ankylosing spondylitis and
related diseases such as spondyloarthropathy, psoriatic arthritis, reactive arthritis, and enteropathic arthritis through education, advocacy, awareness, and research.
Other Works Consulted
American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons and American Academy of Pediatrics (2010). Seronegative spondyloarthropathies. In JF Sarwark, ed., Essentials of Musculoskeletal Care, 4th ed., pp. 1174–1176. Rosemont, IL: American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons.
Arnett FC (2008). Seronegative spondyloarthritis. In DC Dale, DD Federman, eds., ACP Medicine, section 15, chap. 3. New York: WebMD.
May 14, 2013
E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine
& Richa Dhawan, MD - Rheumatology
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