While the causes behind juvenile rheumatoid arthritis are unknown, this condition can be life-altering. Proper diagnosis and treatment, especially early on, can drastically improve patients the quality of life for patients with JRA.
Over time, JRA can cause serious complications. These include:
Like many types of arthritis, each patient responds to JRA differently. However, there are some common symptoms that many individuals with this disease experience, including:
Eye inflammation — JRA often causes eye problems, such as irritation, blurred vision, increased sensitivity to light, and constant pain. Over time, the inflammation that causes these problems can lead to more serious problems, including blindness.
Slower-than-normal growth — JRA, and medications used to treat this dangerous disease, can stunt growth for developing children. Young children can experience a dramatic reduction in bone growth if they have rheumatoid arthritis.
If you believe your child may be developing JRA, contact their doctor or pediatrician immediately. Proper diagnosis, especially for children just developing juvenile rheumatoid arthritis, will help your child in fighting this dangerous condition.
Other common symptoms for JRA include:
While there are dozens of symptoms for JRA, and many types of arthritis have overlapping side effects, contact your doctor immediately if you or your child are developing joints problems. If JRA is caught early on, you’ll have a much higher chance of curing side effects completely.
Children with JRA can experience dozens of different symptoms. You can read more about these potential side effects here.
If you suspect that your child has JRA, your doctor should administer a physical test — this will test joints, and medical staff will determine if your child has inflammation around their joints.
After a physical test, your doctor will most likely do a blood test, which checks the proteins and overall condition of your child’s bloodstream. Doctors will use this to define:
Your child’s rheumatoid factor HLA antigens Inflammation levels throughout the body
Doctors may also administer an imaging test, like an X-ray, to children. This helps medical staff build a stronger picture of damaged or potentially dangerous joints throughout the body.
In some cases, doctors will insert a needle into a swollen joint, which removes fluid. They will analyze this fluid to see what’s causing the inflammation. These procedures are very safe, and the needle only causes temporary pain.
Most treatments for JRA focus on anti-inflammatory drugs, like ibuprofen. These can help control symptoms when the arthritis is still in early stages. As JRA progresses, patients require strong medication, and may need additional forms of therapy.
If your child has been diagnosed with JRA, there are some things you can do right now to improve their quality of life, and strengthen damaged joints.