Juvenile rheumatoid arthritis or juvenile idiopathic arthritis is the stiffness, swelling and pain in the joints of children 16 years old and younger. This arthritis occurs in girls more often than boys and basically the immune system of the body attacks the joints and cells. The symptoms come and go and sometimes they only affect the children for a few months and sometimes they last a lifetime.
Exercise is an important part of treatment of the disease, with the support of the physicians, physical therapists and occupational therapists to assist with appropriate and beneficial regimens. Wake Forest University School of Medicine conducted a study of exercise therapy for juvenile arthritis patients and stated inactivity leads to decreased bone mass and an increase in the degree of disability.
Early detection and treatment will focus on maintaining the function of the joints, controlling pain and preventing damage to the joints. The watchful parent should seek medical attention for their child if they notice:
Juvenile rheumatoid arthritis occurs more often in children who have a family history that includes autoimmune disease but it is rare to have more than one family member with the diagnosis.
The type of juvenile rheumatoid arthritis depends on the symptoms, the number of joints affected and certain antibodies found in the blood and include:
It is important to see a doctor for an accurate diagnosis, as the symptoms are similar to cancer, lupus and other serious diseases.
Keeping children with arthritis active is an important part of their treatment and one step in that direction, is to facilitate a good night's sleep. Tempurpedic pillows, a heated mattress pad and leg pillows can provide relief to aching joints. Ergonomic pens or the writing bird allows the arthritic student to take handwritten notes alongside his peers. The Arthritis Foundation also approves of Cardinal EasyOpen and SpineVue Binders that open, close and lock with one touch.
Personal care items such as a hair dryer holder, a long handled sponge or even a brush gripper for a tooth brush are tools for the child to gain independence and self reliant despite a potentially crippling disease. An assortment of products is available to enable the young person with arthritis to attain and maintain independence.
The diagnosis of juvenile rheumatoid arthritis requires action, treatment and a commitment to keep your child active and involved, despite the challenges. You have a choice of a variety of arthritis living aids and health care facilities to work towards the best outcome when facing this serious disease.
Joints Most Often Affected by Juvenile Arthritis
Knee Arthritis - Ideally, early and aggressive treatment, which includes anti rheumatic drugs, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs.
Hip Arthritis - although doctors cannot cure arthritis, they can often slow down the progression of the disease and decrease the pain.
Elbow Arthritis - Swelling of this joint may compress nerves that travel through the arm causing pain and stiffness.
Shoulder Arthritis - usually begin gradually and include pain, stiffness, redness, warmth to the touch, and joint swelling.
Hand Arthritis - joints may feel warm to the touch, a symptom that most often stems from the inflammation, causing swelling and pain.