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How Does Juvenile Arthritis Affect Children?

Affinity Health, a leading provider of high-quality healthcare, highlights Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis (JIA).

What is Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis?

Juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA) is also known as juvenile rheumatoid arthritis. It is the most frequent form of arthritis in children.

 

“The condition can result in lifelong joint damage. It makes daily living difficult for children,” says Murray Hewlett, Affinity Health CEO.

 

“Some children with arthritis experience lifelong remission. The illness may no longer be active despite the absence of a cure. But others suffer from persistent pain, stiffness and joint swelling. Recurring symptoms may last days, weeks or longer.”

What are the Symptoms and Indicators of Juvenile Arthritis?

Symptoms may fluctuate over time. There may be times when symptoms may flare.

Among the symptoms are:

  • Pain
  • Joint discomfort
  • Swelling
  • Lymph node enlargement
  • Fever

 

  • Rash
  • Tiredness
  • Loss of appetite
  • Irritation of the eyes

What Causes Arthritis in Children?

Arthritis can affect children of various ages, races, and ethnicities. Experts are still undecided on the exact cause of juvenile arthritis. Individual cases are due to genetics, the environment, and the child’s immune system.

How is Arthritis in Children Diagnosed?

A physical examination diagnoses arthritis in children. X-rays and laboratory testing also provide further clarity. If you suspect your child has arthritis, consult your nearest health care practitioner.

 

The doctor may refer you to a rheumatologist. A rheumatologist is a childhood arthritis expert. They also refer your child for physical therapy. Physical therapy preserves joint flexibility, range of motion, and muscle tone.

 

“It’s important to note that there is currently no cure for juvenile arthritis. But with early diagnosis and aggressive treatment, remission is possible,” adds Hewlett. “Treatment focuses on reducing pain, enhancing function and preventing further harm.”

The Different Types of Arthritis in Children

Juvenile arthritis can affect a single or several joints. There are various subtypes of juvenile arthritis. The systemic, oligoarticular and polyarticular types are the most common. 3 Symptoms determine the following diagnosis:

  • The type of arthritis your child has
  • The number of joints affected, and
  • If fever and rashes are present

Complications

Juvenile arthritis may have several severe consequences. But monitoring your child’s condition should ease discomfort. Obtaining proper medical treatment can also reduce the following complications:
Eye Issues:
Some types can induce irritation of the eye. Cases can lead to cataracts, glaucoma, and blindness if left untreated. Eye inflammation occurs without symptoms. So children with this disorder must get regular examinations.

Growth Issues:
The onset of juvenile arthritis might hinder your child’s growth and skeletal development. Some therapeutic medicines, such as corticosteroids, can decrease growth.

Lifestyle and Natural Treatments:

Parents and caregivers can assist children in learning self-care strategies. Some effective techniques include:

Regular Exercise:
Physical activity is essential because it increases muscular strength and joint mobility. Swimming is a fantastic option since it causes minimal stress.

Hot or Cold Applications:
Many youngsters with juvenile arthritis have morning stiffness. Some youngsters respond to cold packs, especially after physical exercise. But, most youngsters prefer warmth, especially in the morning, such as a hot pack, bath, or shower.

Healthy Eating:
Some children with arthritis have low appetites. Others may get weight because of drugs or inactivity.

A nutritious diet can aid in maintaining a healthy weight. So, adequate calcium intake is essential.

Children with juvenile arthritis are at risk for developing the following conditions:

  • Brittle bones due to the use of corticosteroids.
  • Limited physical activity.
  • Excessive weight-bearing.

 

Learn More: Join Affinity Health in Raising Awareness Around Juvenile Arthritis

About Affinity Health

Affinity Health is the leading provider of affordable medical insurance in South Africa. Members enjoy access to a network of healthcare providers. We have designed healthcare products to protect you and your family when it matters the most. We strive to give our clients peace of mind and the highest standard of service. For more information, follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

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