While many people think that arthritis is a disease condition of the elderly, not many realize that this inflammatory condition can also affect children of eighteen years or less. In such situations, the disease is termed as “Juvenile Arthritis” and is one of the most common types of illness to affect children all over United States.
Signs To Look Out For:
There are different types of juvenile arthritis but the signs and symptoms in all the cases are predominantly similar. Limited mobility due to extreme inflammation in the joints is one the most common signs in juvenile arthritic cases. Stiffness in the joints, swelling, short stature due to interference in growth and development of the bones are observed in large number of patients. In rare cases, deformity in bone development will force one leg to outgrow the other, leading to one becoming shorter than the other.
What Causes Arthritis In Children?
A bacterial or viral infection is the most widely blamed factor for triggering inflammation of joints and bones leading to arthritis in children. In most cases, prompt treatment is sufficient to get rid of the condition, helping the child lead a normal life. In some cases, these microorganisms can wreak havoc in the child’s health, leading to more severe form of arthritis that requires an extended period of treatment and in most cases, leads to several complications and can last for months or even years together.
Types Of Juvenile Arthritis:
Arthritis in children is classified according to the number of joints affected.
• Pauciarticular Arthritis:
This affects less than four numbers of joints and is more widespread in girls. If you notice your child developing pain, inflammation and/or swelling in and around the knee, wrist or ankle region without any injury or fracture, she could be suffering from this type of arthritis. It is mainly asymptomatic. Being mild in nature, this can be treated very easily if diagnosed early.
• Polyarticular Arthritis:
This affects more than four joints in the body, making it more severe that pauciarticular type. Eye inflammation is common in these cases. Immediate treatment is required to prevent aggravation of the condition.
• Systemic Onset Juvenile Arthritis:
This is the most severe form of arthritis to affect both boys and girls. Initial symptoms include severe fever and development of rashes all over the body. While many children can recover immediately, in some cases this type of arthritis remains lifelong and can even affect certain vital organs in the body.
Diagnosis And Treatment For Juvenile Arthritis:
A complete check up of the child’s medical history is carried out to determine the cause of arthritis and the possible treatment that could be meted out. In some cases, there are no causative factors or microorganisms that trigger arthritis in children, making the diagnosis slightly tricky.
A number of blood and urine tests are performed to find to the presence of any microorganism that could have caused the disease. X rays are performed in some cases to rule out the possibility of organ damage.
Delay in treatment due to less awareness among parents is one of the main reasons for delayed diagnosis of the medical condition. Many people feel that arthritis could and should affect only the elderly, neglecting the issue in small children and teenagers.
Timely treatment involves administering steroids and drugs to decrease the pain, inflammation and swelling. This coupled with physical exercises to decrease stiffness and inflammation can help children overcome the disease and help them lead a normal active life.