When we hear or see the word “arthritis”, most of us will think of the elderly people in our lives who navigate and deal with the frustrations that come with being arthritic. What we do not hear often are the incidents of the children that are also affected by arthritis.
Juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA), also known as juvenile rheumatoid arthritis, is a rare, inflammatory disease that causes joint pain, stiffness, and swelling in children below the ages of 16, yet it is more common in children age 5 and younger.
The areas of the body that are usually affected include the feet, hands, knees, and wrists. The discomfort can be worse after naptime or in the morning. Girls are also more likely to have JIA.
Causes of JIA
You are probably wondering how a young child can develop JIA so early in life.
There are two factors that trigger the body’s defense system to mistake its own cells as foreign bodies, causing them to attack and causing inflammation and swelling in the joints for more than six weeks in children.
First, viruses and other environmental factors trigger the development of what can be a lifelong condition for children.
Second, JIA can be hereditary and connected to family history. If you have a history of arthritis, you may even worry about the likelihood of your own children getting JIA. What should you look for in your children?
Common Symptoms of JIA
Some symptoms of JIA that you may notice in your children include: