Most people commonly think of arthritis as a condition affecting adults, however, it is not just for them since the month of July is dedicated to raising awareness of the Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis.
Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis is a common autoimmune disease that affects ages 16 and below. It is when the joint tissue that allows a person to move gets attacked by the immune system. Persistent joint pain, swelling, and stiffness are some of the symptoms. The disease can last for a few months while others have the symptoms for most of their lives.
Children who have Juvenile arthritis do not have fully formed immune systems, and their bodies begin to attack the joints, causing swelling, inflammation, and pain. As early as a six-month-old infant can exhibit the symptoms if Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis.
Who is at risk?
While the research is still unclear, there are no particular risk factors yet some children acquire it through genetics. There are certain viruses can trigger the autoimmune disorder.
What are the symptoms of juvenile idiopathic arthritis?
The common symptoms that apply in all types of Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis are swelling and severe pain in the joints of the body.
Other symptoms include:
- Decreased range of motion in joints
- Limping after getting up from a nap or after sitting for long periods of time
- Stiffness first thing in the morning
Some children may not be able to identify what exactly hurts or where, but they can simply have symptoms of severe fever and age inappropriate behaviour like excessive irritability.
If these symptoms persist for more than a week, it’s time to see a doctor.
How is juvenile arthritis treated?
The research for the treatment for juvenile idiopathic arthritis is still on-going, although a first-line treatment is a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen.
The treatment offered for now is to relieve inflammation, control pain, and improve the child’s quality of life. Most treatment plans involve a combination of medication, physical activity, and a healthy diet.
Teaching the child of the importance of how to follow the treatment program is one of the significant parts to manage its effectiveness.