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You may think that arthritis is a disease that affects the elderly. However, it can also occur in adolescence. In this article we will inform you about juvenile idiopathic arthritis, its symptoms and treatments.
What to know about juvenile idiopathic arthritis?
There is a false belief that arthritis is an inflammatory and rheumatic disease that only affects the elderly. However, these diseases of the musculoskeletal system can also occur early. In this case, before the age of 16.
Juvenile idiopathic arthritis is not one, but several inflammatory diseases (so far) of unknown origin that begin in childhood or adolescence and can be preserved throughout life. They can be classified as systemic arthritis, oligoarthritis, polyarthritis (negative or positive), psoriatic arthritis, undifferentiated arthritis and arthritis with enthesitis.
“This arthritis affects the connective tissue, ie the main component of the musculoskeletal system, consisting of muscles, joints and tendons.”
To diagnose juvenile idiopathic arthritis, doctors need to do various studies and analyze the symptoms. Consultation with a rheumatologist will be fundamental in these cases. With early detection, arthritis can stop and not affect the future.
What are the symptoms of juvenile idiopathic arthritis?
Depending on the type of arthritis suffered, the symptoms or signs become clearer. Some are not even recognizable at a glance.
For example, generalized systemic arthritis causes pain, swelling of the joints, fever and rashes. In the polyarticular, it affects at least five joints at the same time. In the pauciarticular grips knees and wrists.
Typical signs of juvenile idiopathic arthritis are as follows:
Swollen, red and hot joints.
Sudden high fever
Lameness, stiffness, joint pain.
Restricted freedom of movement, limb problems.
Pale skin, sick appearance, swollen lymph nodes.
Red eyes, eye pain, photophobia, visual disturbances.
If your child experiences at least one of these symptoms, you should immediately take them to a specialist so that they can review and identify the problem.
Various tests are performed to detect juvenile idiopathic arthritis, including rheumatoid factor blood analysis, antinuclear antibodies, complete blood count, blood sedimentation rate, and HLA-B27.
“Other studies can also be carried out, e.g. B. X-rays of the affected joints, ECG, bone scan and eye examinations. “
Is there a treatment for juvenile idiopathic arthritis?
If only one or two joints are affected and the symptoms are mild, the doctor may prescribe non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, such as ibuprofen, that are sufficient to reduce the symptoms. Corticosteroids may be indicated in patients with severe pain.
If the affected joints are more than three or four, there is a fever, inflammation of the lymph nodes or rashes, anti-inflammatory drugs are prescribed that reduce symptoms, including methotrexate, Enbrel and Remicade.
In order to help with the treatment, it is recommended that the children exercise light and moderate physical activity, but not that they remain at rest, as this will numb the affected joints even more.
“For this reason, parents are encouraged to encourage their children with juvenile idiopathic arthritis to ride a bike, walk, swim, or exercise.”
Physiotherapy can be used to reduce pain and expand the range of motion of certain joints. Cold compresses can also be applied to the affected area to reduce inflammation.
It is also good that children get the help of their parents, friends and family, as well as psychological help if they stress the situation or make it insatiable. Many little ones don’t want to leave their home or play with their friends because of pain or shame.
It is possible that the patients diagnosed during the first stages of the disease can continue their normal life as long as they follow the indicated treatments. In most of these cases, arthritis stagnates and causes little joint damage.
The severity of the pathology is represented by the number of joints involved and the condition of each one. It is worth noting that these children are more prone to chronic pain or adult rheumatoid arthritis.