Chronic Childhood Arthritis

What is Chronic Childhood Arthritis?

Chronic childhood arthritis is also commonly referred to in the medical field as juvenile idiopathic arthritis or JIA. This chronic condition affects children who are under the age of 18 years of age. This type of arthritis is categorized as an autoimmune disorder because the immune system inadvertently assaults the tissues and cells of the body that are presently healthy.

Chronic childhood arthritis often has a negative impact on a child’s growth and the development of their bones. It is surmised that genetics may be a determining factor in acquiring this disease.

What are the Symptoms of Chronic Childhood Arthritis?

The symptoms associated with chronic childhood arthritis are joint pain, limping, swollen joints and stiff movements in the arms and legs. Limping and stiffness are often more pronounced after periods of resting, such as when the child gets out of bed in the morning or after taking a nap. Some children who have arthritis will have numerous swollen joints, while other children may only have one joint that is affected. Additional symptoms caused by this condition include body rashes, fever and swelling of the lymph nodes.

It is not uncommon for arthritis symptoms to go away for awhile and then start up again at a later date.

Chronic Childhood Arthritis Causes

Chronic childhood arthritis is an autoimmune disorder that occurs when the immune system attacks the body’s healthy cells by mistake. According to science and medicine, juvenile arthritis is linked to genetics. Parents are the gene carriers and pass the inherited trait on to their offspring, increasing the child’s risk of getting arthritis.

Genetics may be a predominant cause; other triggers of chronic childhood arthritis are harmful bacteria, parasites, fungi and viruses causing the immune system to damage healthy joint tissues. A child’s sensitivity to specific drugs or chemical and environmental irritants can also cause chronic childhood arthritis to flare up and suddenly disappear, recurring throughout childhood.

A chronic form of arthritis can damage the joint tissues. Sometimes, because this is a genetic condition, it will continue into adulthood. There are several types of juvenile arthritis – noted for its chronic childhood arthritis traits is rheumatoid arthritis.

How is Chronic Childhood Arthritis Treated?

Various types of medications are often prescribed to relieve the symptoms of chronic childhood arthritis. Anti-inflammatory drugs help to control the pain and swelling, and they are often taken along with disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs, which often help to halt the progression of the disease. Immune suppressing drugs and corticosteroids may also be prescribed to help suppress the symptoms of juvenile arthritis.

In addition to medications, many children have physical therapy sessions to help increase the mobility and muscle tone in their arms and legs.

Chronic Childhood Arthritis Prevention

There is no medical or scientific method of preventing chronic childhood arthritis, but there are preventative measures you can take to manage and control the condition. The more you learn about your own family history, the better your chances are of identifying the best method of preventing the symptoms associated with this condition.

Get information from your relatives on the patterns of occurrence and severity to help recognize the on-set of the condition. By keeping the information up to date and sharing it with your doctor and family, you may prevent the flare-ups and reduce the physical damages connected with the disorder.

If the condition is prevalent in your family’s medical history, be sure to visit your doctor to take steps in reducing your family’s risks of chronic childhood arthritis. Although you can’t cure or prevent this disease, early interventions can prevent irreversible damage.

Last Reviewed:
September 13, 2016
Last Updated:
December 05, 2017