Relapsing polychondritis is believed to be an auto immune disease which involves deterioration of cartilage. Cartilage is the tough but flexible connective tissue found in our body. This condition is basically the inflammation of the cartilage. The term “relapsing” refers to recurrent episodes of this condition.
It is an extremely rare condition that usually attacks middle aged adults, though infliction at an earlier age is not unheard of. This condition can affect the ears, joints, nose and connective tissues. It is difficult to diagnose and medication is required for treatment. In some severe cases, surgery may be required. In this article, we will explore various symptoms of this condition.
Symptoms Of Relapsing Polychondritis
Cartilage of ear is known to be affected by this condition in 99% of the cases. This leads to swelling in the external ear and pain inside.
If Polychondritis is not managed properly then partial or complete hearing impairment may also take place. Almost 50% of the cases that report to be suffering from this condition end up having problems related to ears. The pain though is present in all cases.
Cartilage running through the upper respiratory system and neck can get severely affected by this condition. It may lead to hoarseness of voice which may turn into a complete change in the way you talk and sound.
The hoarseness also causes considerable difficulty in talking. Cough like symptoms including persistent wheezing and choking while coughing are also present in cases of Relapsing polychondritis.
Cardiac involvement including damage to heart valves, aneurism is known to occur in this condition. In some extreme cases the replacement of valve may also be required. People suffering from Relapsing polychondritis and cardiovascular problems need to be monitored very closely as this condition can lead to a complete rupture of the valves and prove to be fatal for the patient.
Since this condition recurs in some people very frequently, the risk of valve damage remains very high. In such patients the replacement of damaged parts is preferred as against repeated surgeries for repairing such damage.
The infliction in cartilage or its damage can affect our vestibular system which regulates the body balance. Disturbance in this system can make a person feel a false sense of motion which translates itself into dizziness. Due to this condition, nausea and vomiting may also be induced.
People who suffer from this symptom experience loss of appetite and inability to eat due to churning of stomach. If this symptom persists for a long time then one may experience a lot of weight loss. Such a person is also prone to falls and resulting injuries.
As mentioned earlier, this condition can affect the functionality of the upper respiratory system. One may experience nasal pain and difficulty in breathing due to this pain. This condition may damage the cartilage of nose and alter the appearance of a person due to the consequent swelling.
Abnormal calcification has also been reported in some cases of Relapsing polychondritis. This condition can leave your nose deformed in a “saddle shape” and may require cosmetic and surgical intervention for face correction.