Juvenile arthritis. It’s real. I talked about juvenile rheumatoid arthritis a couple of weeks ago. A lot of people on social media were really surprised that children suffered from arthritis. Arthritis runs in my family. My daughter was diagnosed with arthritis as a teen. Juvenile arthritis is real. I wanted to talk a little bit more about it today.
When it comes to arthritis, we automatically think of the elderly. Yes, they are generally the ones who suffer from this debilitating condition. But, did you know that there are over one hundred different types of arthritis? There are. One of those is juvenile arthritis.
As previously stated, there are over one hundred different types of arthritis. There are different reasons for pain and that pain is felt in different areas of the body, but there is pain. With arthritis, it is always there. With juvenile arthritis, children experience this pain. Unfortunately, children aren’t able to manage and deal with pain as well as mature adults.
In terms of juvenile arthritis alone, there are three types. All are associated with rheumatoid arthritis. What are they?
Pauciarticular is the most commonly diagnosed in children. Luckily, it is the mildest. Pain is often experienced in the ankles, knees, fingers, elbows, and hips; however, any joint can hurt.
Systemic is another type of juvenile arthritis, but it is rarely diagnosed. It is much less common. Unfortunately, complications are common. Pain is severe and often unbearable. Every joint in the body is susceptible to pain. It can also spread to other body organs.
Polyarticular is the third known type of juvenile rheumatoid arthritis. It is not as common as Pauciarticular arthritis but is more painful. This is easy to spot, as children can rarely manage or hide the pain on their own. More joints are affected. According to WebMD and other trusted medical sources, this disease progresses and gets worse over time.
What causes arthritis in children? Experts are unable to agree on a single answer. Through extensive research, most believe juvenile rheumatoid arthritis is caused by an overactive immune system. This immune style attacks the joint tissues. A virus can temporarily cause this, but specific genes lead to long-term attacks. A family history of arthritis may increase a child’s risk.
Aside from Polyarticular arthritis, which can lead to additional complications, most children outgrow the disease. Successful treatment improves the chances. Although most children will outgrow the disease, parents and caretakers must focus on the present. Children suffering from arthritis will experience excruciating and unbearable pain. Without treatment, they will find it difficult to function from day-to-day.
For parents and caretakers, it is difficult to spot the warning signs in young children, especially toddlers. Many do not know how to convey their pain or the pain is so severe it is difficult to describe. In addition to joint pain, those suffering from rheumatoid arthritis have difficulty sleeping, walking, experience joint swelling, and stiffness.
What type of treatment is available? Luckily, children suffering from arthritis have many options. First, medical care is recommended. Long-term health complications can arise if the disease is not properly treated and diagnosed. Parents concerned with treatment should first wait until they have a proper diagnosis. When that diagnosis arrives, pain medication is given. It may be needed on a regular basis.
Unfortunately, pain medications are damaging to the body. Over-consumption can cause complications. For that reason, parents and caretakers must understand the importance of exercise. Pain medication is not the only way to seek relief. Physical therapy will be short-lived, but parents and patients are encouraged to continue the practice at home. Constant movement can be difficult for children who experience pain, but it is necessary. Movement prevents stiffness and deformities.
Many medical professionals recommend surgery to relieve arthritis pain in adults. This is rare in children. As previously stated, most children outgrow juvenile arthritis. The risk of complications is too great in most cases. If the treatment proves unsuccessful, surgery may be considered, but it is rare.
In short, arthritis affects individuals of all ages; it does not discriminate. If you are a parent or know a child who suffers from severe joint pain or difficulty moving, do not discount arthritis. It may be to blame.