Adults are not the only ones exposed to arthritis. The most common form of arthritis in children under the age of 16 is juvenile rheumatoid arthritis (JRA), a chronic condition that causes joint inflammation for at least six weeks.
Arthritis is a condition that is usually associated with older people, but children can also have nearly all of the types of arthritis that affect adults. In many cases, JRA is not a lifelong disorder, and the symptoms may eventually fade away.
JRA produces a number of signs and symptoms. (Signs are things that can be seen or measured; symptoms are things that can only be felt.) The signs and symptoms of JRA include:
- Joint swelling with pain and stiffness. This most often affects the knees and the joints in the hands and feet, and it may be more severe in the morning or after a nap.
- Fever and rash. The fever and rash associated with JRA may appear and disappear quickly.
- Swelling of the lymph nodes. Lymph nodes are small bean-shaped structures located throughout the body.
- Inflammation of the eyes. Routine eye examinations are recommended to treat the condition before it leads to vision loss.
As with other forms of arthritis, in JRA the times when there are symptoms (called flares) may alternate with times when symptoms disappear (remissions).
If your child has joint swelling, stiffness, or pain for no obvious reason, consult your family doctor. If you have any questions about JRA, your Sobeys Pharmacist will be happy to answer them.