If you have the bad luck of having a bacterial infection in your joint cavity, you will most certainly be suffering from perhaps the most dangerous of all kinds of acute arthritis that is known as septic arthritis. The bacteria will have spread from a primary site which can, in most instances, is found right next to the bone or the soft tissue and it will spread, in most cases, through the patient’s bloodstream. However, such a condition is known to affect only a very miniscule number of people that, it is believed, is only two to ten persons out of a total general population of one hundred thousand people.
However, septic arthritis is more common among patients of rheumatoid arthritis and it affects, it is believed, about thirty to seventy people in a population of a hundred thousand people that are rheumatoid arthritis patients. The factors that can cause septic arthritis are many, and if there is a simultaneous presence of bacterial infection, the chances of contracting septic arthritis are greatly increased.
If you also suffer from chronic ailments such as renal failure, cirrhosis, malignancy as well as diabetes then you will be at a greater risk of contracting septic arthritis, which will further increase if your immune system is weak, or if you previously have had immunosuppressive therapy. And, it has been noticed that alcoholics and also those who have been suffering from extended bouts of using intravenous drugs and even drug addicts are at a greater risk of contracting septic arthritis.
What’s worse is that septic arthritis comes on all of a sudden, and its symptoms include extreme pain, inflammation and swollen affected joints, which are also accompanied with chills as well as fever. Sometimes, the joint that has been infected can cause the patient to become immobile in that limb. And, if that was not bad enough, septic arthritis will also affect your bigger limbs of which the knee is a prime example.
The most common treatment or therapy used for such a condition is antibiotic therapy which should ideally begin as soon as the symptoms are noticed, and identified. The main aim of such antibiotic therapy should be to eliminate the infection, and if a patient is given such treatment within a week of onset of the infection, he or she would be able to recuperate faster than those who are treated a month after the infection has been diagnosed.
There are a number of different means used by doctors to diagnose septic arthritis. The use of Gram’s stain may show septic arthritis, and the use of x-rays, radioisotope joint scan as well as determining the white blood count is other means used to diagnose the problem.