Just as it affects adults, rheumatoid arthritis can also affect children. Diagnosis of rheumatoid arthritis in children is enough evidence that rheumatoid arthritis is not age dependent and any person can get it. In children, rheumatoid arthritis is also known as idiopathic rheumatoid or juvenile rheumatoid arthritis. It is very sad when a child is diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis. This is because just as in adults, rheumatoid arthritis in children is also very painful, difficult to diagnose and treat. The difficulty in detecting this deadly disease in children becomes it difficult because children cannot describe how they are feeling.
It is not known what causes rheumatoid arthritis in children but it is believed that the disease is autoimmune and it has similar origin theories like those of adult arthritis. The common symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis in children include joint pain, fever, fatigue, joint stiffness and reduced joint motion. The child can also get the skin affected by this disease. Due to the severe joint pain, the child will tend to avoid playing or not participate in any physical activity. The affected joints also become warm and reddish. To avoid the joints from further damage, it is good for the parent or guardian to encourage the child to undertake the physical exercises prescribed by the child’s physician. This will require a lot of encourage and patience as the child might fear to experience the pain.
There are three main of rheumatoid arthritis in children that are differentiated by the way each manifests itself in the child’s body. The first type is the pauciarticular rheumatoid that starts by inflaming less than four joints. This type can stay in the body for as long as six months before showing its initial symptoms. This type of children rheumatoid arthritis will cause knees and ankles swelling and joint stiffness in the morning. The swellings are not usually painful and this might not prompt the parents from taking it as serious thing.
However, this type if not well taken care of can lead to problems in the child’s health. It can affect the eyes causing painless inflammation which is very dangerous as it can affect the iris leading to loss of eye sight. If diagnosed and treated at the right time, it can rarely cause this serious damage. The pauciarticular rheumatoid arthritis in children is also known to cause irregular growth rates of the legs. This in return makes the child have uneven legs leading to limping when walking. This can cause the hip bone to be damaged causing the child to have a damaged bone in lifetime.
The other type of rheumatoid arthritis in children is the polyarticular rheumatoid arthritis. This type also develops after six months of sickness and mostly affects more than four joints. This type is more dangerous and therefore needs serious attention to avoid damage in the child’s health. Its effects can be reduced by administering of strong medicines. However, the medicines should be administered by a physician as some of them are known to cause negative side effects if used for a long period. The third type of rheumatoid arthritis in children is the systematic rheumatoid arthritis that starts with a skin rash and fever. The fever comes at sometime during the day and then disappears. However there are also cases where both the fever and the rush disappear, but that does not mean that rheumatoid arthritis is not progressing in the body. This types affects the internal body parts and can therefore it is very dangerous.