The disease mostly affects cartilage (firm but flexible tissue) in your ears and joints. It also may show up in your nose, ribs, spine, and windpipe. It can affect any area where the tissue is similar to cartilage, like your eyes, heart, skin, kidney, ribs, blood vessels, and nervous system.
Common signs of relapsing polychondritis include:
- A dip in the bridge of your nose ("saddle nose" or "pug nose")
- Ear Pain and redness
- Red, painful, and swollen eyes
- Painful, swollen joints (hands, fingers, shoulders, elbows, knees, ankles, toes, pelvis) that may or may not happen along with arthritis
- Rib pain
- Throat or neck pain
- Trouble breathing and speaking
- Trouble swallowing
People with this condition may also have other inflammatory diseases like vasculitis or ankylosing spondylitis. They also may have another autoimmune disease like lupus.
Depending on where RP affects you, it can also cause problems with a heart valve or kidney issues. If RP affects your inner ear, you could feel sick to your stomach or have trouble with hearing and balance.
If the disease gets into your windpipe, it can cause a cough and make it hard to breathe or swallow. You also can have severe RP Pain in your breastbone and ribs.