When we hear the term arthritis, we often relate that to the symptoms we experience as the body ages. The causes of most arthritis are not fully known, but we do know that most forms begin with a fault in the immune system that cause the body to attack its own tissues within the joints, or by a metabolic condition.
In children, they can have a form of arthritis that affects them in many ways and can last for months or years. It is known as Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis; 1 child in every 1000 develops some form of JIA and is estimated that around 300,000 children in the U.S. have been diagnosed. JIA can affect many different body parts that cause inflammation of the synovium, which is the tissue that lines and makes fluid to lubricate our joints.
Common symptoms of JIA are joint pain and swelling, fever, stiffness, rash, fatigue, swollen lymph nodes, decreased appetite, poor weight, and slow growth in children. Juvenile arthritis is treated by a team of doctors working together to come up with a plan of action. That plan can include prescriptions and anti-inflammatories for pain and swelling, steroids or DMARD’s, exercise, and splinting to help with joint support.
The major thing that we need to keep in mind is you can help manage your child’s symptoms by sticking to the treatment plan that is developed. You need to make sure that your child is getting enough sleep, exercise, and physical therapy, if needed. Don’t give up or get frustrated, there is hope and support for you and your child to help get you through this journey.