Polyarticular, Pauciaticular, And Systemic
Different forms of arthritis,
usually linked to other conditions, afflict nearly 285,000 children
in the United States. The most prevalent is Juvenile Rheumatoid
Arthritis that affects approximately 75,000 children between 6 months
and 16 years of age. It is not clear what causes Rheumatoid Arthritis
in children. Research indicates the body's inability to differentiate
foreign invaders (bacteria and viruses) from the body's own tissue.
This is an Immune Deficiency Syndrome/Autoimmune reaction where
antibodies develop against components of joint tissue and begin
to attack the joints within the child's own body.
There are several forms of Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis.
includes swelling pain in five or more joints. This encompasses
small joints in the hand and weight-bearing joints such as the
feet, knees, hip, ankles, and neck.
Pauciarticular Juvenile Rheumatoid
Arthritis affects four or less joints. Similar symptoms
include pain, stiffness, or swelling of the affected joints.
It commonly involves the knee and wrist joints. Inflammation
of the iris, which is (colored part of the eye) may also occur
enabling an Ophthalmologist to promptly detect this form of
Systemic Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis
affects the whole body. The symptoms include, fevers and rashes,
in addition to, joint stiffness and pain. The fevers and rashes
usually come and go. The spleen and lymph nodes may also enlarge.
Many viral infections can cause
arthritis symptoms. If the symptoms continue for more than 6 weeks,
the doctor may perform additional tests or refer the child to a
specialist. Symptoms of juvenile rheumatoid arthritis may start
out subtle like stiffness in the neck or hips, sore wrists, fingers,
or knees. More severe symptoms may include limping, rashes, and
fevers. The fevers linked to systemic juvenile rheumatoid arthritis
usually spike up in the evening and drop down during the day.
For the inflammation and pain related to juvenile rheumatoid arthritis,
the doctor may prescribe non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs).
Common NSAIDs include ibuprofen and naproxen. This type of medication
may have unpleasant side effects so the dosage may need to be monitored
by the child's physician. It is important for the child to maintain
regular exercise. The muscles around the joints must be kept strong
to help protect the joints. Exercise helps maintain range of motion
in the synovial joints.
Avoid high impact activities such as running and tennis. Walking,
swimming, and other water exercises are the best way to increase
muscle strength. In addition, juvenile rheumatoid arthritis patients
must maintain a specific diet,
avoiding food that could aggravate symptoms of rheumatoid