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Swelling and pain in your child’s joints! It can be symptoms of Juvenile Arthritis

By Dr. Ravichandar Kelkar, Senior Consultant- Orthopaedics, Columbia Asia Hospital Hebbal

Nobody can replace health with anything in one’s life. Health is a precious factor for any person, that once lost it can take ages to build back the immunity and health. The process of building immunity starts when young and goes till the very end of a person. But what if the immune system which should fight diseases, causes one?

Juvenile arthritis is one such condition which affects children younger than 16 years of age. This condition is an auto-immune disease which means instead of protecting our body from foreign particles it attacks our body making it prone to many other diseases.

This paediatric condition of arthritis is an umbrella term which can be used for inflammatory rheumatoid arthritis. Few juvenile arthritis cases cause joint inflammation, swelling, pain and tenderness. While few juvenile arthritis cases show no joint inflammation or few show only skin and internal inflammation.  As mentioned before the actual causes for juvenile arthritis is still not known, but few researchers believe that juvenile arthritis is hereditary or can be because of environmental factors too.

Since few cases of juvenile arthritis show no symptoms, it can be difficult to diagnose this condition in children. Usually, when kids complain about having continuous pains in their joints, the condition cannot be stated as juvenile arthritis immediately. As this specific symptom can be associated with other issues like bone disorders, lupus, cancer or Lyme diseases. In such conditions, juvenile arthritis can be diagnosed through taking tests like:

  • Blood count test
  • Urine test
  • Blood culture
  • Test for rheumatoid factor
  • Joint fluid and synovial fluid sampling
  • X-ray for broken or damaged bones
  • Bone marrow test

There are many types of arthritis. Not all, JA can show symptoms but as per types, the symptoms may vary too. Few symptoms of juvenile arthritis may include:

  • Joint stiffness, during the early mornings
  • Pain, swelling, tenderness and limping in joints
  • Rash, weight loss, fatigue
  • Persistent fever
  • Eye redness and pain, blurred vision

To improve such conditions among children below the age of 16, healthy lifestyle patterns such as the below should be adopted.

• Eat healthy: Consume foods that contain omega oils like fish, olive oil. Along with this eat fibre rich foods, green vegetables, fruits, cereals. Avoid all foods that contain excess fat and cholesterol.

• Exercise regularly: Exercising can improve your overall health.

• Hot and cold packs: If your kid is suffering from pain, then cold and hot packs can provide a definite amount of relief from the pain.

• Extra Supplements if needed Due to the change in environmental and social factors, the food that is being consumed is not providing all the necessary supplements. So by taking in extra supplements, further health-related issues can be avoided.

• Avoid stress: Children below 16 years of age are more prone to depression. If your child is suffering from pain and has trouble expressing it out. Consult a psychologist. As dealing with the pain can be excruciating.

• Maintain weight: It is very crucial for children to maintain the right weight. Cause excess weight can put extra pressure on the joints

The only way to control the pain that comes with juvenile arthritis is through regular medication and by maintaining and adopting a healthy diet in your day to day life. Meeting with a qualified doctor as early as possible when symptoms develop helps in the treatment

By Dr. Ravichandar Kelkar, Senior Consultant- Orthopaedics, Columbia Asia Hospital Hebbal

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