A condition we often diagnose and treat at Pediatric Rheumatology Consultants is juvenile rheumatoid arthritis (JRA), also referred to as juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA). While the autoimmune disease is the most common arthritis among children, there is still a lot of misinformation about the condition. Dr. Ruy Carrasco breaks down the top myths of juvenile rheumatoid arthritis.
#1 – It’s Easy to Diagnose
There is no test for juvenile idiopathic arthritis. Rather, a diagnosis is made following a thorough examination and patient history. This includes looks at the history of symptoms and ruling out other possible issues.
Often joint pain or swollen joints are thought to be growing pains or an acute injury. These types of issues shouldn’t last for extended periods. If they do, speak to your child’s pediatrician.
#2 – Kids Will Outgrow It
While it is common for a child’s symptoms to “go into remission,” this does not mean that the child no longer has arthritis. Juvenile idiopathic arthritis is a lifetime issue. With good disease management, the symptoms could seemingly go away for long extended periods.
#3 – JIA Symptom is Only Joint Pain
The dominant symptom of JIA is joint pain and swelling – that is not a myth. However, many are surprised to learn that other symptoms include a rash, fever, weight loss, even eye inflammation. In fact, while uncommon, a child may not have any pain at all.
If your child is suffering for many weeks, talk to your pediatrician. With some lifestyle changes and medicines, your child’s quality of life can be significantly improved. There are many treatments available to help reduce symptoms. Regular exercise and physical therapy can also help to improve flexibility of the joints. There is also a wide range of anti-inflammatory medicines and steroids that can reduce inflammation and offer pain relief.
Find out more about childhood arthritis here.
If you have questions about arthritis conditions in children, contact Pediatric Rheumatology Consultants at 512-494-4000.