Do Children have Arthritis?
Children also have arthritis. It is known as Childhood Arthritis (CA) or Juvenile Arthritis (JA).
Arthritis is an inflammation of the joints that causes pain and swelling. Arthritis is a group of more than 100 diseases and it’s only one category of rheumatic diseases.
Juvenile arthritis (JA) is not a disease in itself but an umbrella term used to describe the many autoimmune and inflammatory conditions or pediatric rheumatic diseases that can develop in children under the age of 16.
Rheumatic diseases can cause pain, stiffness, and swelling in the joints, and bones. Rheumatic diseases can also affect other areas of the body, including organs. Other types of diseases are caused by the body’s immune system attacking its own healthy cells and tissues. These are known as autoimmune disorders.
What are the types of Juvenile Arthritis?
There are many types of Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis (JIA).
The most common type of childhood arthritis is the Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis (JIA). Other types of Juvenile Arthritis Juvenile Arthritis (JA) include;
- Juvenile Dermatomyositis,
- Juvenile Psoriatic Arthritis,
- Systemic Lupus Erythematosus and
- Systemic Arthritis or Still’s disease
In many children, Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis (JIA) is a life-long illness with a high risk of disease and treatment related morbidity.
More girls than boys are affected by Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis (JIA). The disorder has been identifies all over the world in nearly all races and ethnicity with an average prevalence rate of 1–2 per 1000 children.
Most children with Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis (JIA) managed with contemporary treatments attain inactive disease within 2 years of diagnosis and many are able to discontinue treatment.
What are the symptoms of Juvenile Arthritis?
Each of the different types of Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis (JIA) have their own set of signs and symptoms.
But common symptoms of Juvenile Arthritis (JA) include;
- Pain — a child may complain of pain right after she wakes up in the morning or after a short sleep. Over-the-counter (OTCs) medications (like paracetamol, ibuprofen, diclofenac etc.) may not relieve the pain. Juvenile Arthritis (JA) related pain may develop over time. The pain may lessen as the child starts moving for the day.
- Stiffness — a child with Juvenile Arthritis (JA) may have stiff joints, especially in the morning.
- Swelling — a child may complain of joint hotness and there might be swelling or redness on the skin around the painful joint.
- Fevers — a child with Juvenile Arthritis (JA) might suffer from frequent fever and fatigue.
- Rashes — many forms of Juvenile Arthritis (JA) causes rashes on the skin
- Eye problems — some forms of juvenile arthritis cause serious eye related complications such as uveitis, iritis.
What are the causes of Juvenile Arthritis?
There is no known cause for most forms of Juvenile Arthritis (JA). There is no evidence to show that toxins, foods, or allergies can cause Juvenile Arthritis (JA). Some research studies point towards a genetic predisposition to Juvenile Arthritis (JA).
Can I treat or cure Juvenile Arthritis?
There is no cure for Juvenile Arthritis (JA). With early diagnosis and thorough treatment, remission is possible. The goal of treatment is to relieve inflammation, control pain and improve the child’s quality of life.
If not diagnosed early, the child might end up living with disabilities which will have an overall impact in the quality of life of the child.
So, when a child is continuously complaining about joint pain or pains in the body, don’t just dismiss it (as just growth pains). Try to find out about the reason for the pain by taking the child to see a good Pediatric Rheumatologist Doctor for necessary tests, diagnosis and treatment.
Pharm Oluwaseun Fasina is the current Public Relations Officer of PSN-YPG Lagos.