Greetings .. Gloria is away this week, and will resume posting on February 4, 2008. In the meantime, please enjoy this article about Juvenile Arthritis. // HART
Sorry, seniors – you do not have exclusive rights to arthritis. It hits anyone of any age. The American College of Rheumatology estimates that 1 out of every 1000 children will develop what is called “juvenile arthritis”. And there are many types of arthritis in these children. It is unknown what causes all of these types of arthritis, so prevention is currently impossible. Here are some of the most common types.
Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis
Perhaps the most common types of arthritis afflicting children is juvenile rheumatoid arthritis (JRA), also known under the scarier name of juvenile idiopathic arthritis. The symptoms of joint pain and stiffness, like with adult arthritis, is very similar. However, these symptoms set in before the child is 16. The treatment varies with each child and the symptoms also vary in severity with each child.
Systemic Onset JRA
This second most common of the types of arthritis in children has quite a mouthful of a name. It usually starts as a fever of over 103 degrees F, which comes and goes. Often, this fever is paired with a mysterious rash that also comes and goes. Systemic onset JRA usually does not happen with the fevers and/or the rash, but pops up years afterwards. However, there have been cases when the arthritis pains were present during the fevers. Not only does systemic onset JRA inflame the joints, but also can inflame the child’s internal organs. Often, the child is anemic and has a high white blood cell count. Treatment usually involves painkillers, other drugs, a watch of the child’s diet and regular exercise.
This is one of the types of arthritis in children with the hardest name to pronounce. Less than half of children with arthritis get this, however. It pops up in girls more than boys – why is unknown. Pauciarticular JRA usually affects five joints or less in the child’s whole body. A side effect seems to be permanent visual damage or recurring eye problems. Believe it or not, children who develop this under the age of 7 have the best chance of a recovery.
This kind of JRA is the same as the kind described above, except that it affects more than five joints in the child’s body. Often, this hits children of any age. It tends to mimic adult rheumatoid arthritis and so is often treated the same way, with regular exercise, drugs, regular check ups and keeping as close to the child’s ideal body weight as is possible.