Recurrent irritation and swelling of the cartilage and other bodily tissues are hallmarks of relapsing polychondritis (RP). A robust yet flexible tissue called cartilage supports and shapes other body components and covers the external surfaces of bones at joints. The trachea (airways), costal (rib) cartilage, pupils, heart, vascular (veins), skin, kidney, and neurological systems are additional bodily areas that may be affected. It is believed that genetics and other unidentified variables play a role. The clinical examination and symptoms are used to make the diagnosis. Until RP can be identified, it may be necessary to rule out other, more prevalent disorders.
Recurrent episodes of infections and cartilage degeneration characterize the multi-systemic illness known as relapsing polychondritis. The frequently excruciating condition can lead to joint malformations and be fatal if the blood vessels, heart valves, or respiratory system are damaged. Although the precise process is unclear, it is believed to be connected to an immune system-mediated attack on specific proteins that are prevalent in cartilage. Any area of the body with cartilage may have cartilage degeneration. The trachea, larynx, and ears may all become “floppy,” and the nose’s bridge may deform into a “saddle nose” shape. Aortic heart valve dysfunction may also occur.
Relapsing polychondritis is linked to a number of different disorders that overlap; these should also be considered. Relapsing polychondritis may be linked to other autoimmune illnesses, vasculitides, and hematologic abnormalities in about one-third of patients. The most frequent conditions that are linked to RP are systemic vasculitis, rheumatoid arthritis, and systemic lupus erythematosus.
Relapsing polychondritis has an unknown, specific cause. When the human system’s natural defenses (such as immunoglobulin) against “exotic” or organisms that invade start attacking healthy tissue for unclear reasons, it results in illnesses called autoimmune diseases. In some situations, aberrant responses by blood vessel cells (serum antibodies), a thyroid enzyme (thyroglobulin), organ wall cells (parietal cells), adrenal cells, or the thyroid may be to blame. Autoantibodies can assault human cartilage and cause the symptoms of recurrent polychondritis.
Some scientists believe that type II collagen immunologic sensitivity, a usual feature of cutaneous or connecting tissue, is what causes relapsing polychondritis. The survival percentage after 8 years has increased to 94% thanks to newer medicines that have lowered the death rate. Relapsing polychondritis patients frequently pass away earlier compared to those who otherwise would, frequently as a result of harm to the coronary artery, lung capacity, or circulatory system.
Signs and Symptoms:
Relapsing polychondritis typically manifests as flares or episodes. A single episode can last a few weeks or a few days, and it can happen again and again for years. Typically, one or both ears will experience discomfort, tenderness, swelling, and redness as the first signs. Your ear lobes are unaffected by the symptoms, only the cartilage within and outside of your ears is affected. Your ears can start to droop. Other signs of relapsing polychondritis involve the following:
- Your nose’s bridge may experience cartilage collapse, which could cause a saddle-shaped nose.
- Joint discomfort like arthritis.
- Nasal blockage.
- Ache just below your breastbone.
- Your eyes are red and hurt.
- Tinnitus, vertigo, or hearing loss if your inner ear is impacted.
- Having problems speaking or breathing if it affects your larynx or your trachea.
Certain signs may not manifest for several years after the disease’s inception, which often happens between the ages of 20 and 30. The Arabian Peninsula and Asia are where this illness is most prevalent.
Diagnosis for Relapsing Polychondritis:
Relapsing polychondritis has no particular test. Even during active flares, some people may have entirely normal laboratory tests, whereas others may have aberrant blood results. Blood tests can find signs of inflammation, including the erythrocyte sedimentation rate. Blood tests can also determine whether a person has a high or low level of white blood cells, as well as whether they have certain antibodies.
Blood test findings can assist clinicians in making a diagnosis of recurrent polychondritis, but they alone cannot prove a conclusive diagnosis because occasionally the abnormalities they find are present in healthy individuals or in those who have other conditions. Other instruments that physicians employ to evaluate the airways include spirometry (which measures lung volume and flow velocity), as well as chest CT scans.
Homeopathic Treatment for Relapsing Polychondritis:
The individual is treated holistically in homeopathy. This implies that, in addition to treating the patient’s pathological condition, homeopathy treats the patient as a whole person in relapsing polychondritis. The homeopathic remedies are chosen following a thorough individualizing examination and case analysis. Which takes into account the patient’s medical history, physical and mental makeup, family history, current symptoms, underlying disease, potential contributing variables, etc. When treating chronic diseases, a miasmatic propensity (predisposition/susceptibility) is sometimes taken into consideration. A homeopathic physician aims to address more than simply the visible symptoms of relapsing polychondritis or any other disorder.
This illness has no known cure, and treatment for relapsing polychondritis seeks to lessen discomfort and the likelihood of consequences. Treatment frequently starts with:
- Colchicine (often prescribed for gout).
- prednisone and other corticosteroids.
- an anti-infective called dapsone.
- NSAIDs, or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications.
In more extreme circumstances, medical professionals might advise:
- Immune system suppressing drugs, such as azathioprine and cyclophosphamide.
- (A form of chemotherapy used to treat arthritis) Methotrexate.
People with really severe conditions could need surgery, including:
- Surgery on a heart valve.
- Breathing tube insertion (tracheostomy).
- Actions were taken to clear the airway. This might entail using a laryngeal or tracheal stent to prop open the airway or airway dilatation, which stretches the Airway using a balloon.
- Surgery to rehabilitate the larynx or trachea.
The best way to manage this condition is in close partnership with your doctor, which frequently calls for frequent follow-up visits. Although there is no treatment, recurrent polychondritis patients have a favorable prognosis. Most people can have full, productive lives today with attentive supervision, new drugs, and timely treatment implementation.