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Arthritis Affects Children Too: Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis

✍🏾 Chidinma Nwonye | SEO Content Writer & Poet

 

What is Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis (JIA)? 🦴

Juvenile arthritis, also referred to as pediatric rheumatic disease, is a term used to classify rheumatic and inflammatory conditions in children.

A common type of arthritis that affects children is called Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis (JIA), and it is a chronic condition that affects joints in the body.


This condition is an autoimmune illness that occurs when the body’s immune system wrongly attacks the tissues that line the interior of a joint. It ultimately makes the synovium release additional synovial fluid leading to pain, swelling, and stiffness within the joint.


 

What are some different types of JIA? 🦵🏿

Several kinds of JIA conditions exist and they vary from symptoms to the amount of joint affected.

They include:

Polyarthritis

  • Commonly affects at least 5 joints, including the jaw and neck joints, and other smaller joints in the feet and hands.

  • ~20% of children with JIA have polyarthritis.

  • More common in girls than boys.

Oligoarthritis

  • Mostly affects <5 joints with its common targets being the elbow, ankle, and knees, and it can often lead to uveitis (inflammation of the eye).

  • >50% of children with JIA have oligoarthritis, and most children are likely to outgrow it by adulthood.

  • More common in girls than boys.

Systemic Arthritis (Still's Disease)

  • Affects the whole body or most body systems, resulting in constant high fevers and rashes that appear in the legs, arms, and trunks. Severe cases can implicate internal organs like the spleen, liver, lymph nodes, and heart.

  • 10-20% of children with JIA have systemic arthritis.

  • Occurrence balanced between boys and girls.

 

What are the common symptoms of JIA? 🌡️

There are a variety of symptoms that vary from patient-to-patient.
  • Morning stiffness of the joints

  • Swelling, tenderness, and pain in the joints can lead to a warm sensation.

  • Rashes

  • Fever

  • Limping gait wrestling in the inability of children to properly perform basic motor activities

  • Swollen lymph nodes

  • Weight loss

  • Eye pain, blurred vision, and redness

  • Irritability and Fatigue


 

What are available treatments for JIA? 💊

Treatments for JIA range from medications to physiotherapy.
  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)

  • Disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs (DMARDs)

  • Steroids/corticosteroids

  • Biological altering/modifying agents

  • Heat treatments

  • Physiotherapy including hydrotherapy and massages

 

How can JIA affect mental health? 🧠

Children and teenagers with JIA can experience depression and other mental health problems, due to the struggles of JIA.

Getting the right mental health support is important to help children with JIA and their families.

 
Isobel Thompson, Content Writer at Write in the Loop

Written by: Chidinma Nwonye (Content Writer)


Grace Pountney, Founder and Director at Write in the Loop

Edited by: Grace Pountney (Founder and Director)


 

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