Rheumatic diseases are caused due to autoimmunity where the immune system attacks healthy tissues of the body and damages them. This is a lifelong condition that cannot be cured completely. The focus of most treatments is to reduce the severity and manage the symptoms of this disease. When this condition develops in children, they are called juvenile rheumatic diseases, and the branch of medicine that deals with their diagnosis and treatment is called pediatric rheumatology. Read ahead to know more about juvenile arthritis and its diagnosis.
What Is Juvenile Arthritis?
Juvenile arthritis is a pediatric rheumatic disease that causes swelling and pain in joints. One of its most common forms is juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA). Apart from the joints, this condition also affects other parts of the body including organs.
What Are The Causes Of Juvenile Rheumatology Arthritis?
The exact cause of juvenile arthritis is still unknown, and listed below are certain factors that play a part in rheumatic diseases in general.
- Family history and genetics
- Problems with the nervous system
- The immune system
- Metabolic issue
- Environmental triggers
- Excess stress, wear and tear of the body
- Effect of hormones
Juvenile arthritis and rheumatic disease affect children of all age groups, and some type of it affects specific categories.
- Juvenile rheumatoid arthritis (JRA) usually affects children younger than 15 years old.
- Systemic lupus erythematosus more often affects girls.
- Ankylosing spondylitis more often affects boys.
What Are The Symptoms Of Pediatric Rheumatology Diseases?
Listed below are the common symptoms of rheumatic diseases
- Swelling and tenderness in joints
- Chronic joint pain
- Stiffness in joints
- Limited mobility in affected joints
These symptoms may be misunderstood for other health conditions; so, it is important to get your child diagnosed by a doctor.
How Are Pediatric Rheumatology Diseases Diagnosed?
It begins with a physical examination of your child along with checking the medical history. This is followed by running the tests that are listed below.
- Antinuclear antibody test (ANA): It tests for antibodies in the blood.
- Complete blood count (CBC): This test is done to check whether red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelet levels are normal.
- Sedimentation rate: This is done to see whether there is inflammation.
- Hematocrit: This is done to test the number of red blood cells.
- Rheumatoid factor test: This test checks for the presence of rheumatoid factor in the blood.
- White blood cell count: This tests the level of white blood cells in the blood.
- Uric acid: It can diagnose gout.
The following tests are optional
- Joint aspiration
- Imaging tests like X-ray
- Urine test
- HLA tissue typing
- Skin biopsy
- Muscle biopsy
Understand that the only way to reduce the severity of the pediatric rheumatology diseases is early detection and treatment.