When many people think of arthritis, they think of a condition that affects older patients. While it is true that many forms of arthritis affect seniors due to overuse or other long-lasting medical conditions. Juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA) only affects children under the age of 16 that are experiencing a specific set of symptoms. Here is a closer look at the signs, symptoms, causes, and treatment options for JIA.
A Closer Look at Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis
Not only is arthritis a blanket term that is given to a number of medical conditions that cause inflammation of the joints, JIA is now used to describe various forms of arthritis exclusive to children. The two key factors of juvenile idiopathic arthritis are: the patient is under 16 years of age and the patient is experiencing continual inflammation of one or more joints for 6 weeks or longer. While nearly 300,000 American children are affected by this medical condition, there have been few breakthroughs on the primary causes of JIA with genetics being the leading factor.
Symptoms and Diagnosis
The first thing that parents should understand is that it can be exceptionally difficult for a child to emotionally work through a chronic illness diagnosis. Many will experience a wide array of emotions, and that is why it is important to have an early diagnosis and begin treatment and support immediately. The primary symptoms that parents should remain aware of include: swelling, tenderness, and redness around any joints throughout the body for an extended period of time.
If your child is experiencing any of the above-mentioned symptoms, an orthopedic physician may diagnose your child for juvenile idiopathic arthritis. The physician will likely start with comprehensive blood tests, but these may actually reveal relatively little. The blood test must be done alongside a physical exam as well as a close inspection of the family’s medical history in order for the diagnosis to be accurate.
There are multiple types of JIA including systemic, polyarthritis, oligoarthritis, and enthisitis. Each is going to have a slightly different approach for treatment. This is why it is so vital to contact an orthopedic physician as soon as possible. The physicians at IBJI will not only help diagnose the condition but develop a comprehensive treatment plan.
While there is no single and permanent cure for JIA, treatment options are all designed to improve the child’s quality of life. This may include physical therapy, medication, and or surgery that will help to decrease pain, reduce inflammation, and prevent further damage from taking place.
Get Help for Your Child
Juvenile idiopathic arthritis can severely impact the quality of a child’s life. If your child is suffering from any of the above symptoms contact an IBJI physician today.