Children can get arthritis just like adults. Arthritis is caused by inflammation of the joints and can cause pain, swelling, stiffness, and loss of motion. Juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA), one form of juvenile arthritis, is actually quite prevalent, affecting more than 50,000 children in the United States alone. JIA is often referred to as juvenile rheumatoid arthritis (JRA) in the United States.
When juvenile arthritis first shows its symptoms in a child’s body, many parents write off swollen joints and fever as a flu bug, or think that a sudden rash might have occurred from an allergic reaction. The symptoms might even recede slightly before showing up again, sometimes delaying diagnosis for quite some time. After all, who expects a small child to have arthritis?
Most people don’t know that children can get arthritis. A child’s immune system is not fully formed until about age 18; so an “autoimmune” form of arthritis is especially aggressive in children, compromising their ability fight normal diseases and leaving them open to complications that may affect their eyes, bone growth, etc. The immune system helps fight off harmful bacteria and viruses. But in an autoimmune disorder, the immune system attacks some of the body's healthy cells and tissues.
To learn more go to: American College of Rheumatology and Center for Disease Control and Prevention