Information On Polyarthritis. 

 May 16, 2024

By  Linda Rook

Deformative due to psoriatic arthritis.


Polyarthritis is a medical condition that mainly has a condition of inflammation in five or more joints simultaneously. It can be a part of a broader systemic illness. The inflammation results from various causes, including autoimmune disorders, infections, and other underlying health issues.

The name 'Poly’ means more than one or many; therefore, it attacks any number of joints.

In this blog I shall explore all about Polyarthritis, the causes, treatment and symptoms, and much more...

But, first I shall explore what is polyarthritis.

Polyarthritis Rheumatica.

The name polyarthritis Rheumatica can be broken down (pole-my-al-juh-rue-mat-is-kuh)

Polyarthritis Rheumatica is another name for polyarthritis, there are two types of polyarthritis which are  seropositive an seronegative.


Seropositive refers to the presence of specific antibodies in the blood, which are commonly associated with certain types of inflammatory arthritis. These antibodies are markers that indicate an immune response and help in the diagnosis and classification of the disease.

The symptoms of seropositive is that it attacks your blood antibodies which results in attacking the body instead of the bacteria or viruses.


Whereas seronegative is where specific antibodies do not exist in the blood. Some times seronegative could be caused by a previous infection or illness, that is accompanied by another condition, this can make it hard for the doctor to diagnose.

Some of the conditions that could trigger the immune system includes rubella and mumps which are just two but there are more, therefore these could lead to  Polyarthritis.

The polyarthritis commonly attacks people over the age of sixty-five, a symptoms of this terrible disease could cause inflammation, called giant cell arteritis, which is due to part of a faulty immune response, this condition is linked to infections and certain genes.  commonly with another inflammatory disease such as polymyalgia rheumatica.

Giant cell arteritis can give you chronic side effects, such as  headaches, difficulty with your vision, your scalp could be tender, and your jaw may have pain.

Risk Factors. 

There are many side effects of polyarthritis which includes:

  • About two to three times more women can develop this disease than men.
  • Polyarthritis normally effects the elderly, between seventy and eighty years old.
  • It’s more likely to develop in white people who have ancestors from Scandinavia or northern Europe.
Elderly Couple


The cause of this disease is your healthy immune system mistakenly attacks its own healthy cells and tissues. also it attacks more than five different joints.

Polyarthritis, is caused by a variety of conditions, that can be broadly categorized into infectious, inflammatory, autoimmune, and metabolic disorders.

Here's a breakdown of some of the primary causes:


1. Infectious.

  • Viral Infections: Viruses such as hepatitis B, hepatitis C, parvovirus B19, HIV, and rubella can lead to polyarthritis.
  • Bacterial Infections: Certain bacterial infections, including Lyme disease (caused by Borrelia burgdorferi), can cause polyarthritis.
  • Post-Infectious or Reactive Arthritis: Sometimes arthritis can develop as a reaction to an infection elsewhere in the body, often after gastrointestinal or genitourinary infections (e.g., Shigella, Salmonella, Chlamydia).

2. Inflammatory and Autoimmune Conditions.

  • Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA): An autoimmune condition where the immune system mistakenly attacks the joints, leading to chronic inflammation and joint damage.
  • Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE): Another autoimmune disease that can affect multiple organs, including the joints.
  • Psoriatic Arthritis: An inflammatory arthritis associated with psoriasis, characterized by joint pain and swelling.
  • Ankylosing Spondylitis: A form of arthritis that primarily affects the spine, but can also involve peripheral joints.
  • Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis (JIA): A form of arthritis in children that causes persistent joint inflammation.

3. Metabolic Disorders.

  • Gout: A type of arthritis caused by the accumulation of uric acid crystals in the joints, leading to sudden and severe pain and swelling.
  • Pseudogout (Calcium Pyrophosphate Deposition Disease): Similar to gout but caused by the deposition of calcium pyrophosphate crystals.

4. Other Causes.

  • Osteoarthritis: A degenerative joint disease that can affect multiple joints, particularly with age, although it typically involves fewer joints than other types of polyarthritis.
  • Sarcoidosis: An inflammatory disease that can affect multiple organs, including the joints, leading to arthritis.
  • Vasculitis: Inflammation of the blood vessels can cause polyarthritis as part of systemic involvement.
  • Fibromyalgia: While not a true arthritis, it causes widespread musculoskeletal pain that can mimic polyarthritis.

5. Genetic Factors.

  • Hereditary Conditions: Certain genetic disorders can predispose individuals to developing polyarthritis, such as certain connective tissue diseases.

6. Environmental Factors.

  • Smoking: Smoking has been linked to an increased risk of developing rheumatoid arthritis and other inflammatory conditions.
  • Obesity: Excess weight can increase the risk of developing osteoarthritis and exacerbate the symptoms of other types of arthritis.
You should never start smoking.


The symptoms can develop all of a sudden or gradually over many months. The first symptom you may have a flu-like illness. The symptoms of inflammatory joints could include:

left knee inflamed and painful.
  • Swelling.
  • A warm feeling.
  • Slight fever.
  • Pain and stiffness, this could be in the shoulders, neck, hips or/and thighs.
  • Your movement may decrease, this could become difficult to wash, climb the stairs or get out of bed.
  • In the morning you could feel stiff and painful, where you have not moved for a while, but, improves during the day when you become active.
  • During the day when you are working around you may feel the symptoms worsen, when this happens you need to rest.

Other symptoms could be:

  • You don’t feel like eating (lack of appetite).
  • A rash appears over your skin.
  • You will feel sweaty
  • The lymph nodes will become swollen.
  • You will feel hot about one hundred degrees or above.
  • Always feel tired (fatigue), or lack of energy.
  • Unexplained weight loss.
  • You could also feel low, with anxious and depressed.
Rash on the arm or psoriasis.
Difficult opening jar


Stiffness – First thing in the morning and lasts more than thirty minutes.

Swelling – joints swelling for more than thirty minutes.

Pain - Pain in your joints could become chronic for more than thirty minutes.

Activities – Easy tasks are difficult to do.

Warm to the touch – Joints could look red and warm to the touch.

If you have any of the above symptoms that can last for more than three days, or you have pain and swelling that constantly recurs within a short period. You should see your doctor who will send you for an x-ray, to see which type of arthritis you are developing.

Polyarthritis in Children.

Polyarticular arthritis could develop in your children, it is the second most common type of juvenile idiopathic arthritis JIA and could last into adulthood. When your child has the first symptoms, it can last for six months and can affect five or more of their tiny joints.

Polyarticular is pronounced as (pah-lee-ar-tik-yoo-aur). There are two types of polyarthritis in children they are called Polyarticular RF, but one is positive arthritis, and the other is negative arthritis.

Polyarticular RF Positive Arthritis.

Polyarticular RF Positive arthritis is common in youngsters over the age of ten. With more than one joint affected, your child's symptoms with RF positive could inlcude:

  • Hard bumps under the skin.
  • Fatigued.
  • Anaemia.
  • Also, feeling of unwell. or a low fever.  
  • Your child could also have a small appetite.                     
  • It is more common in girls.                                                  
  • It affects the small joints such as their hands and feet. Also, large joints like the knees, hips and ankles.
  • Also a low risk of eye disease.
  • Both sides of their small body can be affected.                                                                  
Child in pain with JIA

Polyarticular RF negative arthritis.

Whereas polyarticular RF negative arthritis can develop at any age, but it is more in girls than in boys.

The first symptoms could include:

  • The joint pain can start in one or two joints and then spread over their tiny body over the next six monts.
  • Starting at any age and last into adulthood.
  • More girls than boys.

Seeing the Doctor.

When you take your child to see the doctor, their doctor will start by finding out what the reason for the pain, inflammation, tender, and swelling of the joints could be.

A test is done by seeing if the joints are swollen or inflamed, and how the joints move. 

mum reassuring child.

They may include the following:

  • Swollen and inflamed joints.
  • hot to touch and red looking.
  • If there is any rashes or skin nodules.
  • sore throat
  • Swelling in lower extremities.
  • moving becomes difficult.


If you develop polyarthritis the treatment is the same for any autoimmune disease, such ass rheumatoid arthritis.

You or your child may be prescribed drugs that will help with the joint pain and inflammation. Such as:

  • Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs or NSAID.
  • Disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs or DMARD.
  • Biologics or Corticosteroids.
  • A weekly box of medication.

    Home Treatment.

    Home treatments could help with making sure that your inflammation and pains do not progress.

    They can include:

    heat packs
    • Warm therapy - This could be a hot pack, or a hot bath, shower. 
    • Exercise – gentle exercises like swimming, walking, yoga. 
    • A healthy diet - You should eat a healthy diet, this will do two things keep you healthy and lower your weight if you are overweight.
    • Rest - and try to get enough rest and sleep. 
    • over-the-counter drugs.  

    But if you do this last one you must see your doctor first before taking anything, as some OTC medication can cause harm than good.  


    Polyarthritis is a type of arthritic disease, that attacks your joints, which can develop at any age. 

    The symptoms can become a chronic painful and a disabling disease, that can have a big effect on your health and lifestyle.

    However if you develop any symptoms, you should see your doctor, who will examine you or your child to find the correct diagnosis and treatment.

    I hope this article has helped you. Please subscribe to my website, and I will keep you updated on new blogs. Also, if you need to know anything about arthritis, please go to my contact page and leave a message, and I will get back to you.

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    I am not a medical professional, and this blog is for information only. If you have any worries, you should consult your doctor.

    I hope this blog has helped.

    Linda Rook

    Linda is now retired and has suffered from Osteoarthritis for about 40+ years.  She struggled with her weight until she found the correct one that also helped with her arthritic pain.  Linda was in terrible pain until the physician thought her right hip needed replacement. 

    Now Linda has an artificial right hip, which has left her with the left leg shorter than the right.  Therefore, her spine is now wonky, and has arthritis of the lower back, also it seems to be going all over the body, her pain is now in the knees, elbow, wrist, fingers and both hips.

    Linda now spends her days writing information to help others with the same conditions, so they do not suffer like Linda.

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