Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis- Paving a way towards better Life.

Lakshmi Ajoy

Lakshmi Ajoy

Lakshmi Ajoy is a spiritual healer, writer, artist, photographer, solo traveller, adventure sports enthusiast, mountaineer, entrepreneur and social worker from Mumbai. Her aim is to spread happiness and joys to all around and help others realise the value and essence of life.

Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis (JA) is an inflammatory disease in which swelling of the synovium (tissue that lines the inside of joints) occurs in children aged sixteen or younger.

JA is an autoimmune condition. This means our immune system, which is normally responsible for protection of body from foreign substances, begins to attack the healthy body cells. The disease is also idiopathic, which means that the exact cause of this condition is unknown.

Researchers believe JA may be related to genetics, certain infections, and environmental triggers.

 

There are five types of JA:

  • Systemic Arthritis, can affect the entire body or involve body systems. It usually causes fever and rashes on trunk, arms, and legs. It may also affect internal organs, such as the heart, liver, spleen, and lymph nodes, but not the eyes.
  • Oligoarthritic, affects fewer than five joints in the first six months of appearance. The joints most commonly affected are the knee, ankle, and wrist. Oligoarthritic may affect the eye, mostly the iris. Many children outgrow this disease by the time they become adults.
  • Polyarthritis, involves five or more joints in the first six months of the disease- often same joints on either side. It can affect the joints in the jaw and neck as well. This type closely resembles the adult form of Arthritis.
  • Psoriatic Arthritis affects children who have both arthritis and the skin disorder psoriasis. The child might get either the psoriasis or the arthritis years before developing the other part of the disease. Children with this type of arthritis often have pitted fingernails.
  • Enthesis Related Arthritis often affects the spine, hips, eyes, and entheses (the places where tendons attach to bones). This JA occurs mainly in boys older than 8 years and most likely has a family history of back arthritis. 
Children with JA may have no symptoms at all. Also, some of the symptoms can be associated with other diseases, and diagnosis may be difficult.
 
Symptoms of JA may come and go over time. There may be times when symptoms get worse, known as flares, and times when symptoms get better, known as remission. 
Signs and symptoms can include joint pain, swelling, fever, stiffness, limping (younger children may not be able to perform motor skills they recently learnt), skin rashes, fatigue, loss of appetite, weight loss, inflammation of the eye, redness and irritability of eye, blurred vision and difficulty with daily living activities such as walking and playing.
 
Treatment for JA generally includes both exercise and medications. The treatment plans are also based on the type of JA. In general, though, treatment for JA include goals to relieve pain, reduce swelling, increase joint mobility and strength and prevent joint damage. 
A proper balanced diet with regular lifestyle changes and healthy living can help manage JA better.
 
Constantly motivating the child to perform better and offering them with the desired mental and physical support is essential. Appropriate medication and physiotherapy can make a difference in the life of the child.
 
 
 

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