Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis: Nearly 50,000 Children Affected In The US


Juvenile rheumatoid arthritis can start as a swollen knuckle or a high fever or an unexplained rash and whatever be the symptoms; arthritis symptoms can cause much confusion in the minds of the patient. Arthritis is really an inflammation of the joints accompanied with swelling, heat as well as pain and it is believed that there are approximately 300,000 children in the US who may be having some sort of arthritis or the other, which may be short-term or long term and in rare cases, may even last a lifetime. Juvenile rheumatoid arthritis is very common among kids and it is believed that there are approximately 50,000 children in the US suffering from it.

What Is The Cause?

There is no certainty about the actual causes of juvenile rheumatoid arthritis in children though according to research, it is believed to be an autoimmune disease where white blood cells lose their ability to differentiate between the healthy cells of the body and harmful invaders like bacteria and viruses. The protection that the body should get from its immune system against such harmful invaders fails and instead releases chemicals that are harmful to the healthy tissues leading to inflammation as well as pain. An early diagnosis of juvenile rheumatoid arthritis would help in effectively managing and minimizing the effects of arthritis. There are several different types of juvenile rheumatoid arthritis including polyarticular arthritis, paucuarticular juvenile rheumatoid arthritis, and systemic juvenile rheumatoid arthritis.

Polyarticular arthritis will affect girls more than it does boys and common symptoms are swelling or pain in five or more joints and affected areas include the small joints of the hand as well as weight-bearing joints like the knees, hips, ankles, neck and feet. There may also be accompanying fever of low intensity and there may also be bumps or nodules on the body on areas that feel pressure such as those that are used for sitting or leaning.

Pauciarticular juvenile rheumatoid arthritis can affect four or less than four joints and common symptoms are pain, stiffness, and swelling in the joints. Areas that are most commonly affected include the knee and wrist joints and there may also be inflammation of the iris with or without symptoms in active joints and such an inflammation are known as iridocyclitis or iritis or uveitis which may be detected at an early stage by an ophthalmologist.

The third type is the systemic juvenile rheumatoid arthritis that can affect the entire body and symptoms consist of high fevers that intensify in the evenings with a sudden drop to normalcy. The child may feel extremely ill when the fever begins and would appear to be very pale or may develop a rash which may suddenly disappear as quickly as it first appeared. This may cause the joints in the body to get swollen and be painful as well as have a certain degree of stiffness.

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