Arthritis is a condition that doesn’t just affect adults; it can also affect children.
Arthritis in children (also known as juvenile arthritis) affects nearly 300,000 children and teens in the United States.
Most types of juvenile arthritis (JA) are autoimmune diseases. This means that one’s immune system gets confused; that instead of fighting foreign invaders like viruses, it releases inflammatory chemicals fighting the body’s healthy cells and tissues.
There are different types of JA, but the most common ones are juvenile idiopathic arthritis, juvenile myositis, juvenile lupus, fibromyalgia, and vasculitis.
What Causes Juvenile Arthritis?
Experts still don’t know what exactly causes juvenile arthritis. However, they believe certain genes may cause JA when activated by external factors like viruses or bacteria.
What are the symptoms?
Juvenile arthritis may affect the following:
JA can cause joint swelling, redness, pain, and tenderness. With these, those affected with JA may find it difficult to move or complete one’s tasks. These joint symptoms may worsen after waking up or staying in one position for too long.
JA can also cause skin issues such as scaly red rash, hardened patches of skin, butterfly-shaped rash across the bridge of the nose and cheeks, and light spotted pink rash.
When eyes are affected, kids with JA may experience sensitivity to light, redness, dryness, pain, and problems in seeing things properly.
In some cases of JA, internal organs can also be affected. It can cause diarrhea and bloating, appetite loss, fatigue, and shortness of breath.
Is there a cure for JA?
There is still no cure for JA. However, with early diagnosis and treatment, remission (little to no activity of the disease) is possible.
Treatment plans for JA may include the following: medications, physical therapy, healthy eating, and complementary activities (e.g. acupuncture, massage, etc.).
If you suspect your child has JA, please see a specialist immediately. Remission is very much possible when the disease is diagnosed earlier.
Ozark Orthopaedics has specialists who can help. For appointments, you may call (479) 521-2752.