Polychondrosis is a rare disease that affects cartilage and other tissues including the ears, nose, joint, respiratory tract. Cartilage is the connective tissue of the body that becomes inflamed due to the disease. Polychondrosis is also known as Relapsing Polychondritis is an autoimmune disease with a chronic condition. The condition may vary from mild to severe.

Symptoms of Polychondrosis

 Polychondritis involves impairment in the ears, nose, joints, and cardiovascular system. The symptoms may include:

  • Fatigue
  • Fever
  • Arthritis causes pain and stiffness of the joint.
  • Dizziness
  • Swollen ears
  • Shortness of breath
  • Kidney disease
  • Neurological problems
  • Rashes
  • Weight loss
  • Inflammation of the ears cause hearing disabilities, nausea

 

Causes of Polychondrosis

The causes of polychondritis are unknown, though there are factors that responsible for the cause are:

  • Genetic Factors:  human leukocyte antigens are proteins found in the immune system that are responsible for developing the risks of relapsing polychondritis
  • Immune System Disorders: immune system disorders may cause imbalance, and damage tissues and cartilage.

Certain drugs are responsible for the imbalance in the immune system. The disorders of the immune system may cause damage to the cartilage.

Diagnosis

Relapsing Polychondritis develops symptoms that determine the diagnosis of the affected part. The symptoms involve the following:

  • Inflammation in both ears and nose.
  • Pain in the joints like elbow, wrist, knee, and also eye pain.
  • Certain deformities of the nose and the ears due to the damaged cartilage are commonly known as saddle nose and floppy ears.
  • Weight loss
  • Fever

Doctors may suggest following tests by observing the severity and symptoms associated with the conditions. It cannot be cured completely. Doctors suggest tests including:

  • C-Reactive Protein
  • ESR (Elevated Erythrocytes Sedimentation Rate)
  • Complete blood cell count
  • Metabolic Panel
  • Serum Creatinine
  • Viral Hepatitis panel
  • Antinuclear Antibody(ANA) Tests

Doctors recommend a biopsy to see the affected cartilage tissue by demonstrating the breakdown and inflammation of the cartilage. Liver function tests are necessary for vasculitis screening test for syphilis, and purified protein derivative test to eliminate tuberculosis infection. Sputum cultures and acid-fast bacilli are suggested by doctors to patients with respiratory problems. Acid-fast bacilli cultures, fungal and bacterial cultures are necessary for the cartilage biopsies from the airways. In case of fever, a blood test is required to eliminate meningitis.

Imaging tests are part of the diagnosis,  tests like CT scan, Chest X-rays, PET scan, MRI are also included.

Treatment and Medications

The disease is rare and there is no such therapy to treat the condition. doctors may prescribe the treatment and medications as per symptoms and affected parts of the body. The treatment may include :

  • NSAID: people with a mild condition and no harmful effect causes internally, doctors usually suggest medicines that are nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs(NSAID) like ibuprofen and naproxen.
  • Oral Steroids: when NSAID fails to work, doctors prescribe steroids or other anti-inflammatory medication such as dapsone(Aczone).
  • Anti-inflammatories: drugs like methotrexate, azathioprine, cyclosporine are used when NSAIDs and steroids fail to work properly.
  • Vaccinations: vaccination is used to prevent respiratory infection as the disease occurs in the upper airways. The physician may suggest flu or pneumococcal vaccines.
  • Steroid injections for joint pains may recommend by the doctors to check the inflammation of the joints.
  • Surgeries like heart, tracheostomy, reconstruction, are done to open the airways.
  • Surgeries are done to treat the deformities of the ear and nose.

Cura Multispeciality Hospital’s Department of Allergy and Auto-Immune system

 Allergy is though not contagious, there are rare allergic and auto-immune disorders that affect the health condition. The medications are prescribed as per the severity of the symptoms.  Relapsing polychondritis causes inflammation, pain, swelling in the joints and cartilage. At Cura, we have every facility to serve auto-immune disorders. Imaging tests like PET, MRI, are done here. We provide immunotherapy too. We care for the wellness of our patients.