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CHILDHOOD ARTHRITIS

Childhood arthritis is also called Juvenile Arthritis (JA) or pediatric rheumatic disease. It is a condition that causes swelling of the synovium, a tissue that lines the inside of the joints.

This type of arthritis can affect children under 16 of age.  It can affect the hands, knees and feet. In a rare case, it can affect the internal organ as well. Childhood Arthritis can result in permanent damage to joints. This condition can make a child hard to walk or even dressing.

TYPES OF JUVENILE ARTHRITIS

  1. Juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA)

This is considered the most common type of arthritis.

  1. Juvenile lupus

This type can affect the skin, kidneys joints and other areas of the body.

  1. Kawasaki disease

It causes inflammation in the blood-vessel that may lead to heart complications.

  1. Fibromyalgia

This is an arthritis-related condition that can cause aching and stiffness, fatigue and disrupted sleep.

  1. Juvenile dermatomyositis

It can cause skin rashes on the knuckles and eyelid and muscle weakness.

SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS

The following are the symptoms of childhood arthritis:

  • Having a joint pain
  • Swelling of the eye
  • Having a fever
  • Stiffness
  • Skin rash
  • Experiencing tiredness
  • Having loss of appetite
  • Having a difficulty in walking, dressing, and playing

CAUSES

JA occurs when the body’s immune system attacks the tissue that lines the inside of the joint. The exact reason why this happens is not yet known. Factors like viruses, genes and environment may trigger the disease.

DIAGNOSIS

Diagnosis of this condition can be difficult because no single test can confirm the disease. Doctors may use different tests to help them rule out the problem:

  1. Blood Tests – including the following:
  • Erythrocyte Sedimentation Rate (ESR)
  • C-reactive protein
  • Anti-nuclear Antibody
  • Rheumatoid factor
  • Cyclic Citrullinated Peptide (CCP)
  1. Imaging Scans
  • X-RAYS
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)

PREVENTION

There is no way to prevent arthritis but there are ways to reduce the symptoms and further delay the onset of this condition.

Preventing swelling and joint pain

  • Exercise to help improve the joint flexibility and muscle strength.
  • Modifying your activities if arthritis increases. Activities must be “joint friendly”.
  • Use hot packs and cold packs to decrease the pain.

Preventing morning stiffness

  • Make sure your child wears pajamas, uses thermal underwear and sleeping bags to keep the joint warm at night.
  • Take a warm bath after waking up in the morning.

TREATMENTS

The goal of the treatment is to lessen the pain and growth disturbances since there is no cure for JA yet. The following are strategies to reduce the swelling and pain:

  1. Medications:
  • Non-steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs)
  • Disease-Modifying Anti-rheumatic Drugs (DMARDs)
  • Biologic agents
  • Corticosteroid
  1. Therapies
  2. Surgeries

Natural remedies to help improve your child’s condition:

  • Performing regular exercise
  • Swimming
  • Aerobics
  • Applying cold or hot packs
  • Eating the right kind of food