When we talk about inflammation of the joints or joints, that is, arthritis, we usually think of elderly people. However, to the surprise of many, this condition also occurs in children and adolescents.
Arthritis in children should not be confused with arthritis in adults as they are different conditions that generally behave in different ways. // Photo: Shutter Stock
To arthritis chronic in kids is known as arthritis juvenile idiopathic. The appearance of this condition occurs with some or all of the following symptoms:
- constant fever
- Joints hot to the touch
- Swelling and tenderness in the joints
- Inability to fully bend or straighten joints
- Difficulty performing your daily activities
Once the diagnosis of arthritis juvenile idiopathic, your primary care physician will most likely refer your child to a pediatric rheumatologist. The rheumatologist, in addition to taking a complete history and examining her son, will order multiple laboratory tests.
The importance of the pediatric rheumatologist
Childhood and juvenile conditions related to the musculoskeletal system are treated by the pediatric rheumatologist. Most of these are chronic and need to be diagnosed quickly to avoid serious complications in the future, as is the case with arthritis juvenile idiopathic, a disease whose origin is still unknown and whose diagnosis requires considerable time.
This is because the diagnosis of arthritis juvenile idiopathic is a diagnosis of exclusion, which means that other possible causes of arthritisbefore confirming the diagnosis.
No specific test is definitive for arthritis; the doctor makes this diagnosis only by evaluating all aspects of the patient.
Usual medicines to treat arthritis in children
Once the child is diagnosed with arthritis juvenile idiopathic, the pediatric rheumatologist begins to treat the child with non-steroidal inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen, naproxen, meloxicam and diclofenac, among others.
In more severe cases, it may be recommended medicines disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs such as methotrexate and/or medicines biological.
In other cases, depending on the number of joints involved, your child may benefit from injections of steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs directly into the joint.
Another consideration is a referral to a pediatric ophthalmologist to rule out inflammation of the inside of the eye known as uveitis.
Uveitis often has no symptoms and is usually not associated with activity of the arthritisbut could cause permanent vision loss.
In short, the arthritis yes it happens in kids. The arthritis juvenile idiopathic is a potentially serious condition, which responds very well to treatment.
The most important thing is an early and accurate diagnosis in order to start treatment as soon as possible and thus avoid possible long-term complications.