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Arthritis and Rheumatism

Arthritis

11/15/1999

Question:

can night sweats be related to any form of arthritis

Answer:

The short answer is "yes." Night sweats are usually evidence of fever. Elevated body temperature tends to return to normal at night and sweating is part of the process by which it returns to normal. Thus, people who run fevers during the day often have night sweats. Some individuals are unaware that they have a mild fever, but notice the night sweat. Anything that causes fever can cause a night sweat. This includes infectious diseases of all types, some cancers, and inflammatory disorders. Among the causes of arthritis that can be associated with fever, and thus, with night sweats, are rheumatoid arthritis, systemic lupus erythematosus, reactive arthritis, including Reiter`s syndrome, arthritis associated with inflammatory bowel disease or psoriasis, gout, infectious arthritis of any type, and sarcoidosis. The most common type of arthritis, osteoarthritis, is not associated with fever or with night sweats. Some people develop night sweats for no apparent reason and have no detectable associated disease. Anyone who has arthritis and night sweats should see an internist or rheumatologist to investigate the cause, because many causes of these problems are very treatable but can produce major problems if ignored.

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Response by:

Fred Finkelman, MD
Director, Division of Immunology
College of Medicine
University of Cincinnati