Juvenile arthritis is a term we use for arthritis in children. This disorder is also called “juvenile idiopathic arthritis” because the cause of arthritis is unknown and it affects children of all ages and races.
Juvenile arthritis is considered an autoimmune disorder, meaning that the immune system attacks the body’s healthy cells and tissues. The two hypotheses that scientists believe is that juvenile arthritis may be due to genetics or a virus that may set off the arthritis.
Some signs and symptoms include limping when waking up, clumsiness, skin rash or fever, swelling in lymph nodes, but the most common symptoms include joint swelling, pain and stiffness that do not get better. Long term, this disorder could lead to growth problems.
Often times, doctors determine if a child has juvenile arthritis through a physical examination, family history, lab test, and X-rays. It is not an easy disease to diagnose, however, when a child has constant symptoms, it is likely that the child could have juvenile arthritis.
Some doctors may prescribe medicine to the child, but the most important steps in treating juvenile arthritis is to make sure the child has an overall healthy quality of life, that is staying social and physically active.
It is important for a parent to be aware of the symptoms of juvenile arthritis so they can detect juvenile arthritis in the child sooner than later. Juvenile arthritis can keep a child from participating in social activities. Family members should give the child the best care possible, consider joining a support group, encourage the child to exercise, and consider working with a therapist or social worker.