The name ‘Juvenile’ itself means ‘childhood’ and so juvenile arthritis refers to a joint disorder taking place in children who are under 16. The children having this disease mostly experience the common trio of swelling, pain, and stiffness called together as inflammation in either one or several joints. If juvenile arthritis has hit the child, these symptoms would last for over six weeks. Currently, some 50,000 children are experiencing this disease in America. Now a days, the most dominant juvenile arthritis form is juvenile rheumatoid arthritis also called as JRA. If children can suffer from such a disease, it is really a concern for all of us. So, it is necessary to understand juvenile arthritis in order to combat it. We shall now look at this type’s forms, symptoms, and causes.
Listed below are the signs of juvenile arthritis.
- Swollen wrist, finger, or knee
- Swelling in joints
- Enlarged appearance of joints
- Neck, knee, hips stiffness
- Rashes fading in and out
- High fever in evenings
JRA comes in three forms namely, polyarticular arthritis, pauciarticular JRA, and systemic JRA. In the first type, boys are more affected in which the hand’s small joints as well as the weight-carrying joints are badly involved. Pain or swelling exists in at least 5 joints. The second type mostly attacks the wrist as well as knee joints and inflammation is present in four joints at the most. Further, inflammation might also be in the iris.
The third type is marked by fever hiking during the evenings followed by rash as well as a sudden normal state. This rash might appear, disappear, and reappear suddenly. The lymph nodes as well as spleen rise in size. And yes, many joints witnesses inflammation here.
Juvenile rheumatoid arthritis belongs to the group of autoimmune medical conditions. In the body, the white blood cells are unable to distinguish between fit cells and invading cells such as bacteria. As a response, the immune system emits chemicals that adversely affect the healthy tissues causing inflammation.
The doctor, rather a rheumatologist, will ask for a complete medical history at first. After this, a careful physical examination is carried out. Then, x-rays and some blood tests are performed to rule out the presence of other diseases boasting similar signs. Listed below are some tests that can be done:
- Complete blood count including red and white blood cells as well as platelets
- Bacteria test to know about the presence
- Bone marrow test to detect leukemia
- Erythrocyte sedimentation rate that hikes if inflammation is there
- Rheumatoid factor to detect an antibody
- Antinuclear antibody to identify autoimmunity
- Bone scan to detect changes
The primary care expert, rheumatologist, as well as the physical therapist come together to schedule a perfect treatment regime that includes medicines, exercises, and physical therapy.
- Medicines: Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen,naproxen, and aspirin aid in discarding harmful chemicals present in the white blood cells to reduce the symptoms. If these do not show the magic, the doctors might opt for new medicines such as Disease-Modifying Anti-Rheumatic Drugs (DMARDs) are preferred to decelerate the advancement of the juvenile arthritis. But, these need much time, even months, to prove the effectiveness. In case of severe juvenile arthritis, corticosteroids such as prednisone are preferred.
- Physical Therapy: Low-impact motion exercises have done wonders in restoring the lost flexibility in the sore joints. These exercises aid in developing strength too.
- Regular Exercise: A regular exercise schedule ensures healthy muscles and joint protection. You can choose to walk, cycle, and swim. But, also ensure that you take a balanced diet that has high calcium stuff for good bones
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