Relapsing Polychondritis (RP) is a rare (and in some cases fatal) autoimmune disease characterized by recurrent widespread inflammation of different body areas – in particular, the tissue around the joints called cartilage. Cartilage is a firm tissue, softer than bone, found in several areas of the body such as the joints, nose, and ear. Is also found in the trachea and airways.
Autoimmune disease is an inflammatory condition where the body attacks its own healthy cells, believing them to be foreign. The exact mechanism of RP is unknown, but different studies have found elevation of certain antibodies against collagen in some patients with RP, suggesting that there is an autoimmune component.
RP can affect many parts of the body including the ears, nose, airways, joints, eyes, kidneys, and blood vessels. Because RP is a “relapsing” condition, it can improve for a period of time and then worsen, marking it difficult to diagnose.
The American Autoimmune Related Diseases Association is dedicated to the eradication of autoimmune diseases and the alleviation of suffering and the socioeconomic impact of autoimmunity through fostering and facilitating collaboration in the areas of education, public awareness, research, and patient services in an effective, ethical and efficient manner.