Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis (JRA) is a common type of arthritis found in children generally before the age of 16. It is a chronic disease which results in pain and inflammation in various joints especially in wrists, ankles, fingers etc. It is an autoimmune disease and its actual reason is not yet revealed. Symptoms of JRA can be seen as early as few months from its inception. Symptoms may include swelling of joints, stiffness with pain and prohibition of movement of the joints for those children suffering from this disease, followed by fever and rash. Without showing the general symptoms, it can cause some eye problems like pain in eyes, reddening of eyes, and by showing some deformity in vision.
JRA is an autoimmune disease and is incurable in nature till today. But by physical therapy and with consumption of medicine, some relief can be provided to your young ones. Doctors may help it out by providing medicines to relieve pain and inflammation, gaining strength, and to prevent further complication, is a good initial treatment for JRA. Some exercise may include walking, jogging, playing, bicycling etc, which enhances muscles to move freely and stops further complications like stiffening or deformity in your child.
Medicines, an important factor in treatment of JRA
For several children, only pain relievers may be enough but for the most, where there is a fear of the progression of the disease, may need some typical medication. For JRA this typical medication includes:
- Primarily nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are used as medications for the treatment to reduce inflammation and if there is no improvement in pain within few weeks, doctors may find another NSAID. There may be some side effects creating liver or stomach problems.
- If NSAID does not provide relieve from pain and inflammation, doctors may switch over to disease modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs). To slow the progress of JRA, doctors may prescribe both. Sulfasalazine (Azulfidine) and methotrexate (trexall) is generally used DMARDS for childrens. These medicines may include some side effects like liver problem and nausea.
- As we know JRA is an auto immune disease, where the auto immune system attacks the joints. To prevent it from further attack, some medicines like rituximab (ritunix), abatacept (orencia), and tocilizumab (actemra) can be prescribed by the doctors to prevent further complication, which may result in infections and some types of cancer due to JRA.
- Adalimumab (humira), etanercept (enbrel) are some Tumor necrosis factor (TNF) blockers that reduce stiffness, inflammation, and pain. But there is some risk factor using this medicine as they increase the risk of infection and some types of cancer.
- A Corticosteroid injection is pushed by the doctors into the joints to reduce inflammation but these drugs may hamper a child by restricting his normal growth and may increase the risk of infection. So these drugs may be used in small quantities and possibly for shortest duration.
- If the complication goes on increasing, some surgery may be required to improve the position of joints.
Healthy diet is required
Some healthy diet is very essential for the children suffering from JRA.