Robert Peston is known for his politically explosive interviews and analyses, but a shocking diagnosis brought his health into sharp relief. The 57-year-old realized he needed a break from his fast-paced career at the forefront of British politics after being diagnosed with reactive arthritis. Despite making a full recovery, some victims may experience long-term problems as a result of this agonizing ailment – but what precisely is it? What is the treatment for it?

What is reactive arthritis?

Robert Peston Illness

Reactive arthritis is a type of arthritis that causes inflammation in the joints for a short period of time.

According to the NHS, this painful illness is more frequent among men, with the majority of instances occurring between the ages of 20 and 40.

Robert Peston was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in January 2013 after waking up in the middle of the night unable to move.

“I had completely seized up,” he told The New York Times. My knees and ankles swelled up, and my back and neck were locked. In anguish, I slid out of bed.”

Mr. Peston’s painful experience is not uncommon, with two of the most well-known symptoms of reactive arthritis being stiffness and swelling of the joints.

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What are the common symptoms of reactive arthritis?

Robert Peston Illness

Reactive arthritis is frequently caused by an infection somewhere else in the body.

Food poisoning (bowel infections) and sexually transmitted infections, according to the NHS, are two of the most common causes of this type of arthritis.

The immune system may also overreact in some circumstances to glandular fever or slapped cheek syndrome, both of which can cause reactive arthritis.

Symptoms tend to include:

  • Joint pain
  • Stiffness
  • Swelling in the joints and tendons

The symptoms of reactive arthritis include stiffness and swelling of the joints, which are two of the most well-known signs.

The sudden onset of symptoms commonly affects the knees, feet, toes, hips, and ankles.

  • Pain when urinating
  • Genital discharge
  • Eye pain
  • Eye redness
  • Sticky discharge from the eye
  • Conjunctivitis

Some RA patients may experience problems in their genital tract or eyes, albeit this is uncommon.

“If you have signs of reactive arthritis, you should contact your GP,” the NHS advises, “particularly if you’ve recently experienced symptoms of an infection, such as diarrhea or pain when peeing.”

How is reactive arthritis treated?

Robert Peston Illness

When reactive arthritis is detected, the treatment usually focuses on eradicating the infection that caused it as well as treating the joint discomfort.

To speed up the healing process of this frequently short-term disease, it’s crucial to let your body rest and recover from the infection, just like it does with most illnesses.

Robert Peston’s own recovery journey was mostly centered on self-care and, most importantly, taking time off to recover.

“All my joints swelled up and I felt really weak for a period of time,” he told The Mail on Sunday. I took around six weeks off, but thankfully, I was able to return to work.

“I believe my body was yelling, “Stop!” You must be gentler with yourself.”

Antibiotics, anti-inflammatory pain relievers, steroid medicine, and disease-modifying anti-rheumatic therapies are the four primary types of treatments used to treat reactive arthritis (DMARDs).

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Antibiotics

Antibiotics will not treat reactive arthritis itself, but they may be beneficial in treating an ongoing infection.

In order to clear the body of the trigger, antibiotics are frequently administered to treat a sexually transmitted infection linked to RA.

Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs

Ibuprofen and other anti-inflammatory pain relievers can be used to relieve pain and reduce swelling or inflammation.

Over-the-counter pain relievers are frequently effective and do not require a prescription.

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