Understanding Your Child's Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis

When your child receives a diagnosis of juvenile idiopathic arthritis, you may find yourself quite confused about the diagnosed condition. After all, many people associate arthritis with the aging process and the thought of having a child with this condition can be tough to wrap your mind around. Get to know more about juvenile idiopathic arthritis as well as the treatment options available from an arthritis specialist that can help you and your child better handle the situation and this potentially debilitating condition.

What Is Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis?

Juvenile idiopathic arthritis is a type of auto-inflammatory disease. This means that it is a disorder that affects the immune system and that it causes inflammation in the body. While there are several sub-types of juvenile idiopathic arthritis, they have some basic characteristics in common.

This is a disorder in which the body's immune system is overly active and on such high alert that it actually attacks healthy cells and tissues throughout the body rather than attacking viruses and bacteria that have invaded the body. The different sub-types of this condition determines what joints are affected and can determine whether or not a high fever or other symptoms will also occur. 

The causes of juvenile idiopathic arthritis are not fully known. However, there are genetic components to the disorder and certain gene markers that can be identified which are linked to this form of arthritis. These markers may eventually be able to help researchers develop more effective treatments for juvenile idiopathic arthritis and may even lead to a cure in the distant future.

What Are The Treatment Options For Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis?

One of the primary treatments for juvenile idiopathic arthritis is non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications. These medications can be administered in both prescription and over-the-counter varieties and can help to reduce the pain and discomfort associated with this disorder as well as help with any fever that may also be present.

If this does not work or is only marginally effective, the next step would be to try drugs that are known as anti-rheumatic drugs. These medications take longer to have an effect on the body and may help to relieve pain and inflammation in cases where NSAIDs do not. Cortisone injections into the affected joints can also be a highly effective treatment option and can temporarily relieve much of the discomfort in the joints receiving the injection.

Your child may also benefit from occupational and physical therapy for their juvenile idiopathic arthritis, as it can be difficult with stiffness and inflammation in the joints to perform the necessary daily activities that most children engage in. The more your child is able to remain active and engaged in their daily life, the better they can cope with and recover from juvenile idiopathic arthritis.

Now that you know more about juvenile idiopathic arthritis and the treatments available for it, you can better provide care for your child as they cope with this painful inflammatory disorder. Contact an arthritis specialist for more info.