Juvenile idiopathic arthritis is one of the many forms of arthritis.
It is the most common rheumatic disease in children and adolescents. It is an autoimmune disease that is chronic. It is also a joint inflammatory disease.
This form of arthritis usually begins before the age of 16. Its cause is unknown. Its symptoms are mild and without progressive joint deformities but in some cases, Juvenile idiopathic arthritis can cause serious joint and tissue damage.
It is usually characterized by pain and/or swelling in one or more joints, stiffness after rest or sleep, fever, psoriasis rash and loss of weight.
Types of juvenile idiopathic arthritis.
- Oligoarticular arthritis. This type affects 4 or less joints in the patient.
- Polyarticular (Rh negative). This type affects more than 5 joints. The negative in the Rh, an abbreviation for rheumatoid factor, represents the missing antibodies in the patient’s blood.
- Polyarticular (Rh positive). This type also affects 5 or more joints. Within the patient’s blood, the rheumatoid factor exists. Polyarticular type of arthritis has similar characteristics with rheumatoid arthritis in adults.
- Systemic arthritis. This form of juvenile idiopathic arthritis is chronic and is characterized by systemic features.
- There is also arthritis that is Enthesis related. Enthesis is the inflammation of ligaments, fascia and tendon insertions. This type is also chronic.
- Psoriasis arthritis. This type is also chronic and is usually characterized by asymmetrical involvement of small and large joints.
For the prevention and treatment of juvenile idiopathic arthritis,
Young adults are advised to have regular medical check –ups. With the help of a physician, this form of arthritis is diagnosed and the required mode of treatment prescribed.
The juvenile can examine all his/her joints and try to localize the site of discomfort. It is also necessary to measure the height, the weight and body mass ratio, BMI, of the juvenile. You could also help asses their nail pits and whether they have psoriasis rash.
Simple steps that you should take to help prevent and manage juvenile idiopathic arthritis.
You need to;
- Consult a rheumatologist when you confirm or suspect symptoms especially where they have persisted beyond 4 weeks. This will enable an aggressive intervention by use of drugs before the disease further develops.
- Have discipline in care and management of rheumatoid arthritis. It is recommended that you have a support team of medical professionals and home care givers. Having a care plan will also make sure you stick to the recommended procedure of treatment.
- Practice nutritional therapy. In juvenile idiopathic arthritis treatment, you need to monitor calcium intake in children and increase intake when necessary. You could use vitamin D and oral calcium for supplementation.
- You should engage in physical activity. Practice safe exercising. Consider your general abilities and restrictions caused by the disease. A form of exercise such as aquatic exercise for children and adolescents is recommended; it greatly helps in management of juvenile idiopathic arthritis.
- Let the patient wear comfortable and supportive shoes. Using foot orthotics and the prescribed combination of exercises, they help avoid fatigue of the lower limbs.
- The arthritis patient can also use heated and cold paths and ice massage. This technique, known as thermotherapy, provides a symptomatic relief to the patient.