what is Juvenile arthritis ?
Juvenile arthritis occurs in both boys and girls and affects one in every 1,000 children under the age of 16, making it the most common chronic childhood disease (more than cystic fibrosis, diabetes, etc. It is not a communicable disease, and we do not know what causes it. What is believed is that the immune system is deficient and attacks healthy tissue. Juvenile arthritis can occur after an infection, but it is not a cause.
This disease is manifested by inflammation and pain in one or more joints lasting more than six weeks (below this, symptoms may have another cause). There are different forms:
- Rheumatoid Oligoarthritis :-
- Systemic arthritis;
- Polyarticular arthritis;
- psoriatic arthritis;
Rheumatoid arthritis (adult disease that starts in childhood).
Because of the variety of symptoms and forms, and because young children do not accurately describe the condition they are suffering from, a clear diagnosis may require x – rays and blood tests.
Juvenile arthritis, in addition to being generally painful, can cause permanent damage. Some forms also affect other tissues (eyes, skin, and intestines) and severe forms can affect growth. In most cases, after an evolution of about ten years (on average), marked by periods of relapses and remissions, it disappears and disappears.
Symptoms of Juvenile Arthritis
The child may complain about rowers on awakening or after a nap. He may have difficulty doing certain things with an arm or a leg. One or more joints may be red and swollen.
One study found that food allergies were in some cases an aggravating factor for juvenile arthritis.
Prevention of Juvenile Arthritis
Official medicine rarely mentions it, but many authors stress the importance of an excellent diet to prevent arthritis (like many other diseases). Nevertheless, as the cause of juvenile arthritis is still unknown, there is no known way to prevent it.
Prevent pain and stiffness
Children with arthritis (just like adults) experience morning stiffness and joint pain , which can be prevented or at least reduced by various means, such as exercise and the application of heat or cold on the joint.
Children who must take long-term corticosteroids are at risk for osteoporosis. One study found that supplementation with calcium and vitamin D, two important substances for bone integrity, reduced the risk of osteoporosis in children receiving long-term corticosteroid treatment for juvenile arthritis.
According to The Arthritis Society, “There is still no cure for juvenile arthritis. However, there are medications that can decrease the inflammation caused by arthritis and that can therefore improve the effectiveness of exercise programs and minimize permanent joint damage. It usually takes a few months for the medications to take effect.
The drugs used are of the same type as those indicated for rheumatoid arthritis. Some have the effect of reducing symptoms (no steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and corticosteroids), while others slow down the progression of the disease (anti-rheumatic drugs).
It should be noted that, for children, there is also considerable room for rehabilitation exercises: with an occupational therapist or a physiotherapist, an exercise plan is defined to ensure harmonious growth and muscular development, as well as to prevent the loss of joint amplitude and permanent lesions or deformities. It is sometimes advisable to perform the exercises in hot water (balneotherapy). In some cases, splints are used to support the joints (day or night) to avoid being overloaded.