There are some people who have rheumatoid arthritis get a rare disorder, popular as the Felty Syndrome. This condition is actually rare and is commonly associated with the reduction of the white blood cells, rheumatoid arthritis, recurring infections, as well as a swollen spleen. While this condition is very discomforting and may impose various effects, luckily there are various treatments that may be beneficial in treating the condition. Moreover, the treatments for Felty syndrome are all for the betterment of the condition. This article will tackle the different causes, symptoms, as well as the treatments on the said illness. Read on to know more!
What is Felty Syndrome?
Felty syndrome or what they also call the Felty’s syndrome is actually a rare autoimmune condition that is often characterized by the triumvirate of neutropenia, splenomegaly, and rheumatoid arthritis. Furthermore, the condition is more common to those who are 50 to 70 years and above. Also, it is more predominant in females than that of in males. It is also more common in Caucasians than to those who are of African ancestry.
The Felty syndrome is a deforming disease, which causes a number of complications for some individuals. Moreover, the condition is commonly defined as a complication or in association with rheumatoid arthritis. The occurrence of rheumatoid arthritis gives a rise to painful, swollen, and stiff joints. The low count of white blood cells, especially when it is accompanied by the abnormal enlargement of the spleen, may lead to a much higher chance of infections.
This condition is very uncommon. In fact, it affects about less than 1% of the patients with rheumatoid arthritis. There is less than 3% of people who have rheumatoid arthritis that develop into Felty syndrome. However, those in their 50s, 60s as well as in their 70s who have had r. arthritis for about 10 years already is more prone to it.
Causes of Felty Syndrome
The exact or the main cause if the Felty syndrome is actually unknown. However, those patients who are suffering from r. arthritis may also develop from this illness. On the other hand, this must not be taken into as a definite cause for Felty syndrome in all of its case. Furthermore, there is a possibility that the individual that has the condition need only one abnormal gene to be able to develop the condition. The NORD or the National Organization for Rare Diseases also notes that the condition may be a type of autoimmune condition.
Moreover, the production of white blood cells is actually carried out in the bone marrow. The reduced circulation of the white blood cells may lead to Felty’s syndrome. However, this does not affect the active operation of the bone marrow. In the Felty’s syndrome, the excess white blood cells tend to get stored up into the spleen. This can be seen in patients who have antibodies established in their own body against a certain type of white blood cells.
Symptoms of Felty Syndrome
There are times that people who have Felty syndrome may not feel any symptoms at all. However, there are also times that they may have certain symptoms, which occur with the condition. These include:
- The pale coloring of the skin
- General discomfort
- Loss of appetite
- Deformities, stiffness, swelling, and joint pain
- Weight loss
- A burning sensation in the eyes
- Eye discharge
Some other symptoms may comprise enlarged liver, ulcer, and discoloration of various areas of the skin. However, these symptoms may vary from a case to another.
Who is at Risk of Felty Syndrome?
The Felty syndrome can be more common to those who have long-term rheumatoid arthritis. Some other factors that may increase the risk of it are the following:
- Being older than 50 y/o
- Having inflammation of joint tissues
- Being a Caucasian
- Having RA symptoms
- Having a positive result in the HLA DR4 gene
Treatments for Felty Syndrome
Most people who have Felty syndrome are already getting treatment for rheumatoid arthritis. However, having the syndrome is a different story. You will be needing some additional treatments for Felty syndrome, and some other medications.
Your doctor may prescribe you methotrexate. This is one of the most effective treatments for Felty syndrome. In fact, it efficiently treats various symptoms. Surgical removal of the spleen may also be an option to ease the condition.
If you are experiencing some recurring infections, here are some tips that may help in reducing the number of infections you might experience:
- Wash your hands thoroughly
- Avoid going to crowded places
- Get a flu vaccination every ear
- Try avoiding some injuries
Even though there are no sure treatments for Felty syndrome, treating rheumatoid arthritis may help. Being watchful about your own health by following your doctor’s course of treatment as well as the maintenance of a healthy lifestyle may reduce the symptoms. Take care of your self then you will not worry about the illnesses that you may acquire.