Juvenile Arthritis

Friday, March 07, 2014

Hearing the word arthritis in a diagnosis for a child can be unexpected and frightening. But nearly 300,000 children in the United States suffer from a form of arthritis. Dr. Edward Hill talks about juvenile arthritis in todays 60 Second Housecall.

Dr. Hill:

Juvenile arthritis is an umbrella term used to describe the many autoimmune and inflammatory conditions that can develop in children ages 16 and younger.

Arthritis typically affects joints but juvenile arthritis can involve the eyes, skin and gastrointestinal tract as well.

In addition, there are several different types of juvenile arthritis. As JAs prevalence rises, researchers and doctors alike are working to develop a more sophisticated understanding of the differences between the different forms.

The most common type of JA is juvenile idiopathic arthritis. To receive a diagnosis, a child should be younger than 16 and have initial swelling in one or more joints for at least six weeks.

No known cause has been pinpointed for most forms of juvenile arthritis. Some research points toward a genetic predisposition.

Unfortunately, there is no cure for juvenile arthritis. The goal of treatment is to relieve inflammation, control pain and improve your childs quality of life. Most treatment plans involve a combination of medication, physical activity, eye care and healthy eating.

For North Mississippi Medical Center, Im Dr. Edward Hill.