Arthritis means joint inflammation. This term refers to a group of diseases that cause pain, swelling, stiffness, and loss of motion in the joints. It is also used more generally to describe the more than 100 rheumatic diseases that may affect the joints but can also cause pain, swelling, and stiffness in other supporting structures of the body such as muscles, tendons, ligaments, and bones.
Some rheumatic diseases can affect other parts of the body, including various internal organs.
This disease is largely experienced in adult from the ages of 60 and above, however Children can get arthritis just like adults.
Juvenile arthritis (JA) is a term often used to describe the disease in children. Children can develop almost all types of arthritis that affect adults, but the most common type that affects children is called juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA).
Juvenile idiopathic arthritis is currently the most widely accepted term to describe various types of chronic arthritis in children.
In general, the symptoms of JIA include joint pain, swelling, tenderness, warmth, and stiffness that last for more than 6 continuous weeks. Most forms of juvenile arthritis are autoimmune disorders, which mean that the body’s immune system—which normally helps to fight off bacteria or viruses—mistakenly attacks some of its own healthy cells and tissues.
The result is inflammation, marked by redness, heat, pain, and swelling. Inflammation can cause joint damage. Doctors do not know why the immune system attacks healthy tissues in children who develop JA. Scientists suspect that it is a two-step process.
First, something in a child’s genetic makeup gives him or her tendency to develop the disease; then an environmental factor, such as a virus, triggers the development of the disease.
Treatment for the disease in children generally includes both exercise and medications. The treatment plans are also based on the type of JA. For instance, children who have polyarticular type of arthritis and who have a positive result on the rheumatoid factor test have the potential for more joint damage and may need more aggressive treatment.
In general, recall that treatment for arthritis has several main goals: to relieve pain, to reduce swelling, to increase joint mobility, strength and to prevent joint damage and complications.
Growing up with arthritis can be challenging. However, with care from a team of rheumatology professionals, most children with the disease live full and active lives. There are various types of childhood arthritis, which can last from several months to many years. In every instance, early diagnosis and treatment can help avoid joint damage.