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The Who and What of Infectious Arthritis, Part 1

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Infectious arthritis, more commonly known as septic arthritis, is exactly as it sounds. Infectious and arthritis. A combination no person wants to come across. But if you do, or have, there are certainly some important facts and suggestions you shouldn’t take lightly since this condition is considered a medical emergency.

As most people are aware, anything with the name infectious means bacteria, virus or fungi that spreads through the bloodstream causing an infection. And when you refer to arthritis, you are referring to a joint inflammation. Therefore, when you add arthritis to end of infectious, you are saying you have an infection in your joint or bone.

We learned last week who is most vulnerable to gout. In the same family as gout is infectious arthritis and it doesn’t discriminate who it attacks. This infection doesn’t care who you are and what your story is. Although, most commonly striking young children and the elderly, anyone is prone to it if they fall under certain risk factors of this infection. One of the most important risk factors to be aware of is if you have had previous complications due to pre-existing arthritis or a joint condition or injury. With over 100 types of arthritis, this leaves the door wide open in terms of your chances of contracting this infection. However, rheumatoid arthritis or osteoarthritis are the most vulnerable. It is also important to note that if you have had joint replacement surgery, your risk factor is higher. So if you have had a hip or knee replacement it would be beneficial for you to keep this in mind. Also, those with open wounds are also highly susceptible to developing infectious arthritis because it leaves an open door for bacteria to enter the body. Other risk factors include those who use intravenous drugs and have a weakened immune system due to a medical condition such as Lyme’s Disease, Hepatitis, diabetes, or cancer.

Unfortunately, even something not associated with your bone or joints, like the flu, can ignite infectious arthritis if the bacteria causing the flu is not treated properly.

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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.