Arthritis can occur not only in elderly people, but also in children or adolescents. According to the NCBI report, 1 in 250 children suffer from some form of arthritis. Juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA) is a form of chronic arthritis that occurs in children under the age of 16. It can affect 1 child in 1000. In JIA, the immune system directly attacks the joints. Because of which the way of life of every child can be disrupted. This problem is such that sometimes it becomes difficult to understand its symptoms. That is why it is important that you know all about this problem of arthritis in children.
Why the immune system is attacked
Normally, our body’s immune system helps us stay healthy by fighting off external infections. But in rare cases, sometimes the body’s immune system begins to perceive a normal part of the body as a foreign element (like a germ). It slowly begins to attack the body itself. Genes play a role in this disease. This disease can be passed from parent to child.
But that’s just one of many factors that children need to develop arthritis. It is a myth that JIA is caused by being too cold or living in a cold environment or eating certain foods. While that’s not the case at all.
How serious is arthritis in children?
JIA can vary in symptoms and severity. In addition to the joints, swelling or pain can also affect the eyes and intestines. Symptoms usually last 4 weeks or more. Some of the symptoms include joint swelling, pain, stiffness (especially in the morning) and burning around the joint.
Fever, rash, loss of appetite, and weight loss are symptoms of JIA that change over time. Sometimes even from day to day. Children sometimes feel better, sometimes the symptoms are more visible and they feel more tired. This is called ‘flaring’ or ‘flaring up’. Sometimes gout can be caused by an infection.
Tests will need to be done before treatment
JIA is often difficult to diagnose because symptoms can vary from child to child. Some symptoms are similar to those of other childhood illnesses. There is no test that confirms JIA. Often other possibilities must be ruled out in the first B phase.
The disease requires a thorough evaluation by a pediatrician, the Mayo Clinic reports. Blood tests to measure the amount of Art B, an ultrasound to check the joints or X-rays may be needed. Because JIA can affect the eyes (called uveitis), it’s important to have regular eye exams once diagnosed.
In addition, swelling of the eyes may occur in children. If regular eye examinations are not done, vision can be lost completely.
What can be the treatment of arthritis in children
The main methods of treating arthritis include medications to control inflammation, exercise to keep joints functioning properly and muscles strong, injections to reduce joint swelling, and pain medications to reduce pain.
If the inflammation is not treated, it can damage the joint, including the cartilage and surrounding bone. The muscles around the joint may become weak and the joint may lose some of its range of motion.
The main goals of treatment are to return children to their normal activities and prevent arthritis from interfering with an active lifestyle. If treated in time by a pediatric rheumatology specialist, children with JIA can lead active lives and most long-term consequences can be avoided.