We all know aging can have an effect on our bodies, among other factors, but we see and feel our joints becoming weaker and less cushioned. We start to feel pain in certain areas, stiff, swollen, limited range of motion, and see redness. These are all symptoms of arthritis. What most people don't know is that although arthritis is more commonly found in elderly folk, it can appear in juveniles as well.
In the United States there are around 300,000 children diagnosed with Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis and scientists do not know the cause but believe to be genetics. There are about five different types of this autoimmune disease:
Systemic arthritis is also called Still's Disease. It affects the entire body causing inflammation in the lungs lining, the lining of the hearts wall, enlarges spleen and liver as well as the lymph nodes. Children may have a slower growth rate if diagnosed with this type.
Oligarthritis is the most common type affecting 2/3 children in just one or both knee joints but it does go away after being treated. Although it goes away, the child can still be left with inflammation in the eye meaning they will have to see an eye doctor constantly.
Polyarthritis causes pain in 4 or more joints.
Psoriactic athritis is commonly seen with psoriasis which appears as silvery scales and red rashes on the skin.
Enthesitis arhtritis causes swelling and pain at the connection of tendons and ligaments to the bone but is very easily treated.
Common symptoms of juvenile arthritis is stiffness in the joints, pain in the joints, limping, constant fever, rashes, weight loss, irritability, blurred vision and eye pain/redness. These symptoms can also vary depending on the type of arthritis. Even though this is an autoimmune disease, it is difficult to diagnose juvenile arthritis because the symptoms are very similar to other diseases like lupus, cancer, bone disorders, and fibromyalgia.
Depending on the type of arthritis, treatments can be aggressive to fight off the symptoms so that the child does not grow up with constant arthritis. Doctors use exercise and medications to help reduce swelling and pain in the joints like NSAIDs, slow-acting anti-rheumatic drugs, corticosteroids, and metabolites.
We here at the Chiropractic Office of Dr. Gene Ross encourage that if you start to see symptoms of juvenile arthritis or are worried that your child may have arthritis due to genetics stop by your doctors office so they can receive treatment right away.