Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis Prognosis

In many cases, children diagnosed with juvenile rheumatoid arthritis can overcome their symptoms. With today’s medical treatment capabilities, many conditions are treated and children go on to live symptom-free even into adulthood.

This means that the juvenile rheumatoid arthritis prognosis or outlook is typically good provided proper treatment measures are in place.

What to Expect

Juvenile rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic condition that can last many years. However, many children with juvenile rheumatoid arthritis can see a full recovery from the disease. This means that their symptoms can be virtually eliminated and they may never experience symptoms again in adulthood.

Naturally, the disease’s progression is different for each patient. The juvenile rheumatoid arthritis prognosis can depend largely on how early symptoms were detected, when a diagnosis was reached, and how soon treatment was started.

In some cases, joint damage occurs or bone growth is stunted at a young age. This can cause permanent damage and can lead to other complications in adulthood.

Here are some of the potential outcomes of juvenile rheumatoid arthritis:

  • Treatment progressively improves symptoms and restores range of motion and mobility
  • Long periods of remission can be reached when no symptoms occur at all
  • Symptoms may disappear completely in childhood and not return in adulthood
  • Symptoms may continue into adulthood and will need to be continually treated and managed

Early Detection and Diagnosis

The earlier a diagnosis is reached, the sooner treatment can be implemented. The ability to detect symptoms and reach a diagnosis can drastically influence the juvenile rheumatoid arthritis prognosis.

Early treatment can eliminate some of the factors that lead to progressions such as not enough regular physical exercise or uncontrolled inflammation and joint deterioration.

Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis Prognosis  Factors

How this chronic disease progresses is dependent on a number of factors This is why it is difficult to determine a specific juvenile rheumatoid arthritis prognosis. The factors that contribute to the disease’s outlook include:

  • Number of joints affected and whether symptoms are centralized or appear in multiple areas
  • The extent of damage done to the joint bone and cartilage
  • How aggressive the inflammation symptoms are in certain joints
  • Types of treatment implemented and whether this includes occupational and physical therapy

The prognosis can change over time as well given the evolving nature of the disease itself. You may find that your child’s case improves with treatment. Otherwise, you may find that symptoms appear sporadically and with no real pattern.

Complications

There are certain complications to be aware of if your child has been diagnosed with juvenile rheumatoid arthritis. Knowing which complications to anticipate can help you and your child better manage the disease.

Eye Inflammation

There are certain eye conditions associated with juvenile rheumatoid arthritis. These include iritis and uveitis, which cause irritation and inflammation to the eye. This specific complication generally depends on the subtype of juvenile rheumatoid arthritis your child is experiencing. Ongoing eye tests must be conducted to monitor your child’s eye health.

Jaw Pain and Deformity

Symptoms may affect jaw bone growth which can lead to oral health complications. Jaw pain and stiffness may become a problem. In severe cases surgery may be required to restore jaw function.

Blood Circulation

Sometimes symptoms can affect arteries in hands and feet and cause them to be inflamed. This can lead to lowered blood circulation.

Anemia

Anemia or low iron count in the blood may be another complication of juvenile rheumatoid arthritis.

Continued Treatment

With continued treatment the juvenile rheumatoid arthritis prognosis for patients is good. The treatment options must be tailored to each individual patient’s situation as no two cases are exactly the same.

Physical Activity

Continued physical activity is important. The juvenile rheumatoid arthritis prognosis is much more positive when a child is exercising regularly. This helps to increase their joint function and improve their range of motion, flexibility and mobility.

Some of the recommended exercises include swimming, walking, and cycling. Certain exercises may be more appropriate for when flare-ups or active states of pain are experienced. In this case, it’s best to consult your physician.

Physical activity also helps children improve their psychological state in recovering from chronic symptoms of juvenile rheumatoid arthritis.

Emotional Support

Over time, many children face feelings of anger or sadness in their struggle with juvenile rheumatoid arthritis. It’s important to look for these signs and provide the necessary emotional support to help them restore their quality of life.

It may be necessary to pursue counseling or psychological services to ensure that your child feels supported.

Medication

There are medications available that control the progression of juvenile rheumatoid arthritis and can lead to a positive outlook. These are the same medications many adults take and are known as disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs). Your physician will be able to determine if these drugs are necessary to control swelling and prevent damage.

Surgery

Occasionally, doctors will recommend surgery for children with juvenile rheumatoid arthritis. These are usually severe cases where bone damage is extensive. Joint replacement surgery is an option and it can reduce potential complications the patient may experience in adulthood.

Regular Follow-Up

Ensure that you and your child work closely with your team of physicians to monitor symptoms and assess the stages of progression. The appropriate treatment options may change over time as well so it’s important to stay on top of your child’s symptoms.

Many children with juvenile rheumatoid arthritis go on to lead completely normal lives. Children are able to continue with their schoolwork, social events, as well as physical activities.

Transition Health Care

If symptoms continue to persist past the age of 17 or 18 years old, juvenile rheumatoid arthritis patients can be transitioned from pediatric care to adult care. The goal is to ensure continued treatment and care without interruption. Your team of physicians will help prepare you and your child for this transition when the timing is appropriate to ensure optimal health care provision.