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Understanding 7-Types of Juvenile Arthritis: A Childhood Joint Disease

Kids Get Arthritis Too – a division of The Arthritis Foundation supports an average of 300,000 children and families with juvenile arthritis. The foundation comments on juvenile arthritis stating, “Juvenile arthritis actually is an umbrella term for a number of childhood diseases affecting the joints and musculoskeletal system.” The National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases defines juvenile arthritis (JA) as childhood arthritis causing joint stiffness, pain, and swelling. JA is an autoimmune disease, in which the body’s immune system attacks healthy tissues and cells mistaking them as foreign invaders. Extended damage by the immune system can lead to altered bone growth and joint deformities in children. 

Common Types of Juvenile Arthritis Outlined by the Kids Get Arthritis Too Organization:

1. Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis (JIA): This is the most common form of JA, manifesting before the age of 16 and affecting one or more joints in the body. Joint swelling averages for at least six weeks. Other manifestations include muscle tightening, bone damage, and altered growth.

2. Juvenile Lupus: A type of lupus causing pain and discomfort in bodily joints. As noted in Kids Health, juvenile lupus can be hard to diagnose because it can affect multiple body systems. Common symptoms include joint pain, fatigue, rash, and muscle pain. 

3. Juvenile Scleroderma: is a condition that tightens and hardens the skin. The localized form of scleroderma is more common in children and can cause damage to the skin, muscles, bones, and joints.

4. Juvenile Dermatomyositis: an inflammatory disease leading to muscle weakness in the upper legs and trunk. Muscle weakness can affect activities involving thigh and leg strength like running and climbing. Kids Get Arthritis Too documents that an average of one in five children with juvenile scleroderma experience a mild form of arthritis.

5. Kawasaki Disease: presents inflammatory symptoms, fever, arthritis, and heart complications. Although the joints may be compromised, the main concern with Kawasaki disease is damage to the coronary (heart) blood vessels.

6. Mixed Connective Tissue Disease: this condition involves high levels of antinuclear antibody (anti-RNP), causing joint inflammation. The Cleveland Clinic documents fatigue, muscle pain, and joint pain as symptoms associated with mixed connective tissue disease.

7. Fibromyalgia: is a chronic condition presenting joint stiffness and pain. Other symptoms include general fatigue and problems with sleep. Fibromyalgia is more prevalent in girls and is commonly diagnosed after puberty.

As noted in WebMD diagnosing JA incorporates physical assessments, presenting signs & symptoms, labs (rheumatoid factor, erythrocyte sedimentation rate, antibodies, bacteria, and others), medical history, and imaging test (X-rays, bone scans, & MRI’s). Based on assessment and diagnostic findings the physician formulates a diagnosis and orders treatment options accordingly. Understanding presenting signs and symptoms of JA allows for prompt diagnosis and treatment interventions.

The Mayo Clinic reports juvenile arthritis, as a prevalent disease in females, yet it’s also evident in males. Management varies depending on the presenting symptoms and on the type of JA. Common treatment modalities include physical and/or occupational therapy, anti-inflammatory medications, corticosteroids, proper nutrition, and patient education. To learn more on treatment options and lifestyle recommendations for JA visit the Mayo Clinic

* All information shared in this article should be discussed with your healthcare provider prior to incorporating any suggestions. This article is for informational purposes only, and is not intended to provide advice or direct client decisions.

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Yeneilyn is a Registered Nurse in the state of Florida since 2006. Her nursing practice began in the field of Cardiology at Mount Sinai Medical Hospital and expanded to care for clients in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU). She was provided the opportunity as LPN Instructor, which changed the course of her nursing career. She states, “Teaching nursing students expanded my view on positive influences nurses contribute beyond beside care. Nurses are central leaders in health education, client advocacy, and disease prevention.” Currently, Yeneilyn writes health articles and prepares Continuing Education (C.E.) courses for healthcare professionals. She continues her studies in the field of Nursing Education and evidenced-based nursing practice. In her free time she enjoys sharing time with family and friends.


For questions or topics of interest contact Nurse Yenny at: nurseyenny@gmail.com    


 


 


 

  • Phil Tuesday, 29 July 2014

    Question for Yenny

    Hi Yenny, How do we contact you to ask a more specific or personal question?

  • Nurse Yenny Tuesday, 29 July 2014

    RE:Question for Yenny

    Hi Phil. Thank you for your injury. Feel free to email your questions to nurseyenny@mythoemke.com. I look forward to answering any questions or concerns. Thanks.

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