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What Is Enteropathic Arthritis?

Affinity Health, a leading provider of affordable medical insurance, examines how the disease presents and what treatment options are available. 


Understanding Enteropathic Arthritis

Enteropathic arthritis affects about one in every five people with an inflammatory bowel disease such as Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis.


Enteropathic arthritis, or EnA for short, is a form of chronic, inflammatory arthritis associated with an inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). While it typically affects younger people between the ages of 15 and 40, RheumInfo shares that older people can get it, too.


The course and severity of EnA vary from person to person. Still, it’s not uncommon for the disease to flare, then subside, only to reoccur some days, weeks, and even months later, and these flares often correlate to IBD flares (although not always).


EnA usually affects the joints in the arms and legs, and in some cases, the entire spine, causing mild to chronic pain, inflammation, and stiffness, limiting mobility, and impacting your quality of life.


Sometimes, other joints in the body are also affected, such as the hips, knees, hands, and feet, as per Everyday Health.


“The exact cause of EnA remains a mystery, but research suggests that the disease may be genetic, which is also typical of IBD,” says Murray Hewlett (CEO of Affinity Health).


“What we do know is that about half of patients with EnA have a gene called HLA-B27. This gene is also commonly found in people with other diseases in the family of inflammatory rheumatic disease. Likewise, however, the other half of people with EnA do not have this gene.”


How Is EnA Diagnosed?

EnA has no known cure, but there are medications and therapies that can help manage the symptoms of the arthritis and bowel components of the disease.


Diagnosing EnA typically involves reviewing your complete medical and family history with your doctor. Before referring you to a rheumatologist who specialises in arthritis and autoimmune disease, your doctor will ask detailed questions about your symptoms and may perform special diagnostic tests.


What Is The Treatment For EnA?

Although treatment for EnA depends on how the disease has presented, the earlier it is treated, the better the outcome for the patient.


“Early diagnosis and treatment helps control the inflammation that may play a role in body aches and pain,” adds Hewlett.


“It is essential for people with EnA to make sure that any inflammation of the bowel is properly treated and that their bowel disease is kept under good control. This will often significantly improve their symptoms.”


How Can Affinity Health Help?

Affinity Health’s Chronic Disease Benefit covers certain life-threatening conditions that need ongoing treatment. It includes cover for Chronic Conditions on the Affinity Chronic Disease List.


Affinity health also offers an optional chronic medication booster, with cover for over 23 different chronic conditions. Pre-Existing Conditions are subject to a 12 month waiting period from Commencement Date.


 About Affinity Health

Affinity Health aims to provide premier quality, affordable medical insurance to South Africans. We strive to give our clients peace of mind and the highest standard of service when they are faced with injury or illness. We work to deliver innovative solutions that are simple, cost-effective, and proven, so our cover is structured to ensure that you get exactly what you need. For more information, follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn.

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