Mind Your Body (16th July 2009)

Kids get Arthritis too

This article highlights the followings:

  1. Arthritis affects children too. (In Singapore there was a girl as young as 4 was diagnosed with Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis (JIA))
  2. 300k of children in the US has some form of JA. No Singapore figures are available as no studies have been carried out. (0.1% of kids worldwide have juvenile arthritis.)
  3. The causes of JIA are unknown. Children below the age of 16, who complain of pain in the joints, should be checked for JIA.
  4. 7 types of JIA. Most common being Oligoarticular JIA, where fewer than five joints is involved. And in all forums of JIA< inflammation of the joints is a significant symptom.
  5. The good news is that, unlike adult forms of arthritis, childhood arthritis usually has good prognosis. However, early and aggressive treatment is necessary, especially for severe JIA, as arthritis in children can affect bone development and growth.
  6. Childhood arthritis can affect children of any age but it is extremely uncommon in early childhood. Most are affected during their late childhood or early teen years.
  7. Causes are still unknown but it is possibly related to the immune system attacking the body.
  8. Mild forms of JIA can be treated with physiotherapy and pain relief. More severe forms will need stronger medication, sometimes in the forum of weekly injections. And this may last a few years.
  9. Some may continue to have arthritis in the future and these patients are those whose blood tests are positive for Rheumatoid factor, have Juvenile Ankylosing Spondylitis (another type of juvenile arthritis) or systemic-onset JIA, which affects the whole body.
  10. One popular misconception about JIA is that children with this condition should not exercise.
  11. Children with JIA may benefit from taking supplements that contain calcium, iron and omega-3 fatty acids.

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