Just like adults, children can suffer from many types of arthritis. In the United States, about 300,000 children have been affected by an arthritis condition. However, with the appropriate intervention, these minors can enjoy long and active lives. As is the case with Rheumatoid Arthritis in adults, Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis (JRA) results from the process of the body’s immune system attacking its very own healthy tissues. Experts hold that minors, just like grown-ups, have similar genetic predispositions that can be prompted to develop arthritis conditions. Scientists have not come up with any certain solution to curb arthritis illnesses in minors due to the fact that the cause of immune malfunctions is still largely unfamiliar.
There are many healthcare facilities in the US where patients can receive treatments for Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis. However, minors, parents and their loved ones must have to travel for the same. Insurance plans usually cover medical treatments but not travel costs. This means you have to plan your travel wisely to keep these travel expenses down.
If you are already aware of where you would like to go for Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis treatment, consultation or second opinion, you can go ahead and plan your travel. If you are unable to meet travel expenses on your own, you can check our directory of charitable organizations that help patients and their loved ones arrange cost-free travel for medical reasons.
About Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis
Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis is the commonest term used in the United States to refer to all types of arthritis conditions that minors can suffer from. However, there are some other terms that are used too. These are Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis and Juvenile Chronic Arthritis. Just like arthritis suffered by adults, JRA manifest itself through similar symptoms. These include the following;
- Swollen, red, or warm joints: This is common but first manifests in larger joints especially the knee joint.
- Persistent joint pain: The child may not complain of pains in the joints but parents can notice limping especially in the morning or after the child comes from sleep.
- Limping or preference of one leg or arm
- Rashes that appear with fevers
- High fevers
- Stiffness: Your child will look clumsier than normal especially in the morning or after coming from sleep.
During their early years, minors with JRA experience growth that is slower than expected. Some of their joints develop faster than the others. This causes the child to have arms and legs that are of different sizes and may also have ramifications on the child’s overall height. Overall, children with JRA from a young age experience slower growth rates compared to the rest. In some cases, minors suffering from JRA may experience problems on their joints all over the body and undergo damage of the organs as a result of too much inflammation.
JRA can affect one or multiple joints. In some instances, the disease affects the whole body thereby resulting to rashes, fever and swollen lymph nodes. Like all other types of arthritis, JRA also has situations where symptoms spring up strongly and times when they vanish.
Where to Go for Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis
There are many facilities in the country where you can go for juvenile rheumatoid arthritis treatments. These healthcare facilities are well equipped with medical equipments and competent doctors and other members of the staff. The healthcare services given in these facilities are patient-centric and use an approach where all, patients, parents and doctors work together for the best interest of the patient. Children hospitals in the country are alive to the fact that they deal with minors and therefore tailor their treatment programs with that in mind.
Among the best hospitals in the United States where you can go for JRA include the following;
- Children’s Hospital Los Angeles
The Children’s Hospital Los Angeles Division of Rheumatology is the biggest and most comprehensive pediatric rheumatology treatment programs in the western US. The Division is tasked with the responsibility of addressing the pressing need of offering the highest quality of pediatric rheumatology care for children and their families in California, Nevada and other nearby states. This is done through combining superiority in clinical care, training and research.
This healthcare facility provides comprehensive Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis treatment using a team of six full-time hematologists. These professionals are supported by clinical social worker, nurse coordinator, designated physical and occupational therapists, research study coordinator among other support staff.
Treatment of Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis
Due to the fact that many kinds of problems can cause joint pains, diagnosis of juvenile rheumatoid arthritis can be challenging. There is no single test that can be used to confirm existence of JRA. However, tests are useful in ruling out some conditions that are known to cause similar symptoms and signs. Some of the tests that are used in the diagnosis of the condition include;
- Blood tests
- Imaging scans
Juvenile rheumatoid arthritis treatment aims at helping the minor maintain the right level of social and physical activity. In order to accomplish this, doctors may employ a combination of medical strategies to ease swelling and pain, maintain full strength and movement and do away with other complications.
For some minors, pain killers may be the only intervention required. Other kids may require medicines that are aimed at limiting the progress of the condition. The usual medications used for this disease include the following;
- Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)
- Tumor necrosis factor (TNF) blockers
- Disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs
The doctor may advise that your kid sees a physical therapist to assist in keeping the joints flexible while maintaining range of muscle tone and movement. An occupational or physical therapist may provide further advice concerning the most suitable exercise and protective gear for the child. This professional may also advise that the kid uses splints or joint supports to keep the joints in a healthy functional state.
Risks Associated With Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis
JRA is caused by attacks by the body’s immune system against its own healthy tissues. Why this happens is not very clear in the scientific and medical world. However, both environment and heredity appear to play part in this condition. Some genetic mutations predispose a child to environmental factors that may prompt the disease into action. These factors may be in form of viruses. For these reasons, the risks associated with the disease include the following;
- Family history. Those minors with close relatives that have had the condition are more at risk of developing the same.
- Exposure to some environmental factors like viruses puts the minors into the risk of getting JRA.
- Some disadvantageous mutations may result into the child being predisposed to factors that may lead to getting the disease.
Who Can Go for Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis
It is good to have your child go for regular medical check-ups to make sure that there are no illnesses and conditions that can affect health without your knowledge. However, children that experience symptoms that suggest juvenile rheumatoid arthritis should go for diagnosis and treatment right away. Parents that have a family history of the disease should be sure to have their children checked properly to rule out the possibility. Children that are exposed to environmental factors that may put them at the risk of getting this disease should go for diagnosis and treatment.