Arthritis Can Strike Children

Arthritis Can Strike Children

While arthritis is typically thought of as an older person's disease, more than 300,000 American children have chronic juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA), an expert says.

Mental Health Does Not Come With A Manual, It Comes With Friends & Family Support That Never Gives Up!
Join now

Unlike age-related arthritis caused by cartilage and bone wear and tear, JIA has more to do with joint inflammation, but it's not clear what triggers this inflammation, said Dr. Barbara Ostrov, a pediatric and adult rheumatologist at Penn State Health in Hershey, Pa.

Symptoms of JIA include joints that are consistently swollen, stiff or inflamed. In some cases, the disease also affects the eyes and can threaten vision if not diagnosed and treated promptly. All children with JIA should be monitored by an ophthalmologist.

The youngest children with JIA often don't complain about their pain. Signs that they may have JIA include wanting to be carried for the first couple of hours a day due to morning stiffness, or a persistently swollen knee or limp.

"In many cases, children just work around the problem and do function with minor adjustments in how they use the affected joints. But the older kids tend to perceive their arthritis differently and may have more discomfort," Ostrov said in a university news release.

For children with JIA who have inflammation in one or two joints, cortisone shots may offer relief for up to two years. Also, low doses of the medication methotrexate can help ease symptoms and inflammation in many patients.

If inflammation persists, doctors may prescribe biologic drugs to dampen an overactive immune response.

"We are fortunate to have medications to control this inflammation. Children tend to do well on them, with fewer side effects than adults," Ostrov said.

The outlook for children with JIA is much better now than it was decades ago, she added.

The Internet's Most Trusted Source For Mental Health Information
Sign up

"In the 1980s and 90s we had kids who needed hips, knees and other joints replaced with new joints. But now, having JIA is more about taking medication safely, monitoring symptoms and living well with arthritis," Ostrov said.

More information

The U.S. National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases has more on juvenile arthritis.


Copyright © 2013-2017 HealthDay. All rights reserved.


Related Content

What If Your Anxiety & Depression Is Really A Sign Of ADHD?
What If Your Anxiety & Depression Is Really A Sign Of ADHD?

More often than not, when a person over the age of 10 is diagnosed with attentio...

Read more
New Patent By OxyContin Maker May Treat Pain But Comes With Addictive Potential
New Patent By OxyContin Maker May Treat Pain But Comes With Addictive Potential

Purdue Pharma, the maker of OxyContin, has received a patent designed to treat o...

Read more
Why Are Transgenders Experiencing More Mental Health Issues Than The General Public?
Why Are Transgenders Experiencing More Mental Health Issues Than The General Public?

Individuals who identify as transgender tend to experience higher rates of menta...

Read more
New Research In Schizophrenia Shows That A Video Game Can Aid In Preventing Hallucinations
New Research In Schizophrenia Shows That A Video Game Can Aid In Preventing Hallucinations

People with schizophrenia can be trained by playing a video game to control the ...

Read more
I was 12 When I Survived 9-11 But My Peers & I Are Only Now Realizing Our PTSD
I was 12 When I Survived 9-11 But My Peers & I Are Only Now Realizing Our PTSD

As the Twin Towers burned and eventually collapsed on 9/11, I was running from m...

Read more
How Running Helped These Everyday People Beat OCD, Depression & Anxiety
How Running Helped These Everyday People Beat OCD, Depression & Anxiety

When documentary photographer Martin Eberlen was diagnosed with ADHD in his earl...

Read more