Picture This: Your doctor declares that your child is down with juvenile idiopathic arthritis. You are confused why on earth your child is faced with such a form of arthritis?
Having your kid diagnosed with ‘juvenile arthritis’ can be shocking and confusing. To help you out, we’ve explained some general facts about this chronic condition.
What Is Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis?
Juvenile idiopathic arthritis, also known as juvenile rheumatoid arthritis, is an autoimmune disorder.
- It is a joint condition that may appear in children between 6 months and 16 years of age.
- It occurs when the immune system of the body, which is usually concerned with tackling harmful substances, recognizes the body’s own cells as harmful.
- This leads to inflammation and pain in the affected area.
- It may start as a spiking fever, an unexplained rash or a swollen knuckle.
The actual cause of juvenile idiopathic arthritis is still a mystery.
- All scientists know for now that this is an autoimmune disorder that may occur due to certain environmental changes or genetic issues. These aspects trigger the immune system to release certain substances that harm the body’s own cells.
- Studies have revealed that psychological stress tends to worsen the symptoms associated with this condition.
- What’s more, this condition is more commonly observed in female children.
- Some scientists speculate that certain viruses may trigger this immune system overdrive and cause juvenile idiopathic arthritis.
Signs And Symptoms:
The signs and symptoms of juvenile idiopathic arthritis are non-specific and vague. Some of them include:
- Reduced physical activity
- Poor appetite
- Slight limping
- Pain in the joints
- Morning stiffness
- Flu-like symptoms
Swelling around different joints is also noted, and is one of the most prominent signs and symptoms that point out to juvenile idiopathic arthritis.
If you do notice any of the above-mentioned signs and symptoms in your child, make seeking medical advice your first priority.
- It is very important to diagnose and treat juvenile idiopathic arthritis as early as possible to reduce the risk of damage to the joints. Left untreated for long, this chronic disorder may progress into severe conditions including:
- Children affected by this condition experience reduced growth. Certain medications prescribed to lessen inflammation may also limit growth and cause musculoskeletal problems.
- Uveitis-an inflammatory condition of the eye, is also commonly observed in individuals affected by this condition.
- Left untreated, this eye condition may also lead to glaucoma, cataracts, scars and even blindness.
- Joint deformities, especially in the fingers, are noted among children who are not treated on time.
- Loss of hand function, sometimes irreversible, is also noted in severe cases.
Post diagnosis, the doctor may suggest different approaches for juvenile idiopathic arthritis treatment, depending on the severity of his arthritis. Swimming and other physical activities aimed at improving musculoskeletal growth are suggested, accompanied by the use of certain special supports, if required.
- Physical therapy, social and physical activities, pain management and social support strategies are commonly suggested, since they help kids experience overall benefits.
- Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and intra-articular corticosteroid injections are also used to reduce inflammation and pain in the joints.
- It is believed that consumption of foods rich in omega 3 fatty acids may help reduce the severity of the symptoms associated with this condition.
- Severe forms of juvenile idiopathic arthritis may also require surgery.
Thanks to the rapid advancements in science and medicine, dealing with this condition is not difficult. Speak to your doctor and find out ways you can help your child recover and/or to reduce your kid’s chances of being affected by the disease.
We would like to know more about your experiences, if you are dealing or have dealt similar situation. Do share your views with other parents in the comment section below.
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