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By Patricia Taitt, MD | Rheumatology
According to the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases, approximately 294,000 children in the U.S. under age 18 have arthritis or other rheumatic conditions. Juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA), or juvenile rheumatoid arthritis, is the most common type of childhood arthritis. It is usually an autoimmune disorder. Juvenile arthritis can affect children of all ages, races and ethnicities. There is no known cause for the disorder but it can be diagnosed through a physical examination and review of symptoms, family health history, X-rays, and blood tests.
Signs and Symptoms
Several serious complications can result from juvenile idiopathic arthritis but keeping a careful watch on your child’s condition and seeking appropriate medical attention can greatly reduce the risk of these complications:
When to See a Doctor
Take your child to the doctor if he or she has joint pain, swelling or stiffness for more than two weeks — especially if he or she also has a fever. Your child may be referred to a pediatric rheumatologist for further evaluation.
While there is no cure for juvenile arthritis, some children may achieve permanent remission. Exercise plays a large part in reducing the symptoms of arthritis and maintaining range of motion of the joints.
Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases