Treating Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis

Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis

Since the cause of rheumatoid arthritis and juvenile rheumatoid arthritis is not entirely understood, the condition cannot be cured and prevented. Affecting nearly 300,000 people of 18 years or under in the United States, juvenile rheumatoid arthritis is typically not deadly and can be treated with a variety of options.

Just as with adult rheumatoid arthritis, juvenile rheumatoid arthritis is also more likely to develop in girls than boys, with 2-3 year-olds at an increased risk. How the condition affects an individual, in the long run, depends on early diagnosis, approach to treatment, juvenile rheumatoid arthritis type, and the joints that the condition targets.

Also referred to as juvenile idiopathic arthritis, the condition is thought to be entirely separate from rheumatoid arthritis that occurs in adults. Treating juvenile rheumatoid arthritis requires more aggressive options as the condition can affect growth and development in children.

Treating Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis

The goal in treating the condition is to improve symptoms, prevent bone and joint damage, and as well as improve motion range and mobility.

Once your child’s primary physician determines that your child may have juvenile idiopathic arthritis, you will likely get a referral to a pediatric rheumatologist. Pediatric rheumatologists specialize in diagnosing and managing rheumatoid arthritis long-term in infants and kids.

In some cases, seeing other specialists may be needed if there is skeletal damage, inflammation in the eyes, or rashes. However, in most cases, children need physical therapy to improve mobility and muscle strength to prevent developmental issues.

Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis Medications

Initially, over-the-counter NSAIDs (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) can be used to lessen inflammation and relieve pain. As a next step, disease-modifying medications, also known as DMARDs, may be prescribed to alleviate symptoms and impede the progression of the disease.

In more advanced cases, steroids infections can also be used to target affected joints directly and relieve pain, which is often preferred when the disease affects one or two small joints.

Corticosteroids are also common just as they are in treating adult rheumatoid arthritis. These drugs are highly effective in alleviating pain and inflammation. However, corticosteroids come with some risks when used long-term, especially in children, such as contributing to the weakening of the immune system and growth problems.

Things to Consider

Looking after and caring for a child with juvenile rheumatoid arthritis can be taxing for the patient and their caregivers. The stress of an autoimmune disease such as juvenile rheumatoid arthritis can take its toll on both the child in question and the people caring for them. Having a healthy emotional and professional support system is essential.

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Can You Prevent Rheumatoid Arthritis

Rheumatoid Arthritis is the most common autoimmune disease, affecting millions of people in the United States alone. In essence, rheumatoid arthritis causes an immune system response that results in inflammation of the joints, which primarily affects the hands, wrists, elbows, knees, and feet.  So can you prevent rheumatoid arthritis?

Without proper care and treatment, rheumatoid arthritis can result in serious joint damage in time. While rheumatoid arthritis does not have a cure and cannot be prevented, there are measurements you can take to prevent the condition from worsening and incurring severe damage.

Tips to Prevent RA From Worsening

If you suspect that you may be showing symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis, your first step should be consulting a doctor as soon as possible. Early diagnosis makes treatment and prevention of the progression of the disease much easier.

Having regular visits with your rheumatologist once at least every few months is also essential as their close monitoring of the disease is crucial. If your treatment is ineffective and not slowing down rheumatoid arthritis, your doctor can explore other treatment options.

Exercise

Regular exercise is a vital part of treating rheumatoid arthritis as well as prevent it from worsening. Many low-impact exercises that promote heart and lung health but are gentle on the joints, such as walking, swimming, and water aerobics, can improve your muscle strength and motion range. Other gentle exercises like yoga and tai chi also improve movement range, stiffness, and muscle strength. Warming up and cooling down before and after exercising and discussing your exercise regimen with your rheumatologist is also important.

Diet

Having a healthy diet is also important in managing rheumatoid arthritis. Avoiding foods that cause inflammation such as trans and saturated fat, processed foods, and full-fat dairy is key, but there are also foods you can incorporate into your diet that improves RA symptoms and lower the rate of flare-ups.

Foods that are high in omega-3 fatty acids have been shown to reduce inflammation, including fatty fish like salmon, mackerel, and tuna as well as walnuts and flaxseed. You may also take fish oil supplements after consulting your rheumatologist about your daily dose. Increasing your intake of fruits and vegetables can also help you avoid rheumatoid arthritis symptoms as they are rich in fiber, antioxidants, and minerals that can lessen inflammation, e.g. leafy green vegetables, blueberries, strawberries.

Over-the-counter pain relievers known as NSAIDs such as Ibuprofen can also relieve pain, swelling, and stiffness in mild to moderate cases of rheumatoid arthritis. Corticosteroids are also used to treat joint pain and stiffness.

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Symptoms of Rheumatoid Arthritis

Symptoms of Rheumatoid Arthritis

Rheumatoid arthritis is a lifelong autoimmune disease that causes inflammation in the lining of the joints, which particularly exhibits itself as pain and stiffness in the hands, knees, and feet.  Let’s look at some symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis.

Rheumatoid arthritis most commonly affects people aged 40 and over and is more common among women. The disease can be degenerative without proper care and treatment, damaging the tendons, cartilage, and bones around the joints. In some advanced cases, rheumatoid arthritis can even affect other organs such as the lungs, eyes, heart, and nerves.

Despite being more common in people between the ages of 40 and 60, rheumatoid arthritis can develop at any time with additional symptoms of swelling and fatigue. Rheumatoid arthritis cannot be cured as its exact cause is not entirely known, but it is treatable.

What is understood about how the disease works are that it causes the immune system attack itself and cause joint inflammation. Early diagnosis and proper treatment are key in managing symptoms and preventing rheumatoid arthritis from worsening and causing serious damage.

Primary RA Symptoms

The hallmark symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis are joint pain, stiffness, and swelling caused by inflammation. Inflammation is a natural occurrence in the body, but with rheumatoid arthritis, it happens excessively without any cause. Typically, rheumatoid arthritis targets small joints such as those in the hands, wrists, and feet, and often the same parts on each side of the body, which is a unique rheumatoid arthritis characteristic.

Stiffness, which impacts motion range significantly, typically happens in the morning due to an extended period of immobility and can last for up to a few hours. Rheumatoid arthritis pain is the symptom with which most people with the condition report having difficulty with coping. Inflammation in the joints also results in redness and tenderness in addition to chronic pain.

Living with RA Symptoms Long-Term

Chronic means lifelong, so rheumatoid arthritis is an incurable, lifelong disease with extended durations of flare-ups followed by remissions in a cycle. While people with RA are in remission, they may experience a few mild to no symptoms.

However, there are those with severe cases who have flare-ups almost monthly. When rheumatoid arthritis gets a chance to progress, it can begin to extend its reach to the elbows, shoulders, hips, jaw, and neck.

Rheumatoid arthritis symptoms vary in severity individual to individual, and managing the condition effectively is dependent on proper care and treatment. Research shows that people who follow their treatment plan, make lifestyle changes, avoid stress, get enough rest, and understand the long-term treatment options manage to improve their symptoms and report less severe and frequent flare-ups. Without improving the primary rheumatoid arthritis symptoms, the condition can lead to chronic fatigue, depression, and even a complete loss of motion range in advanced cases.

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What Causes Rheumatoid Arthritis

Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic, inflammatory autoimmune disease that targets the lining of the joints, mainly affecting the hands, knees, and feet. In addition to chronic pain and stiffness, rheumatoid arthritis can also lead to bone erosion and deformities in advanced cases. So what causes rheumatoid arthritis?

Rheumatoid arthritis causes the immune system to attack the healthy tissues in the body instead of pathogens and harmful substances as it normally should. This process weakens the immune system and exhibits itself as pain and stiffness on typically both sides of the body, such as both hands, wrists, or feet. Besides joints, rheumatoid arthritis can also impact other body parts such as the eyes, lungs, and nerves.

Rheumatoid Arthritis Causes

Although the exact cause of rheumatoid arthritis has not been discovered, genetics and environmental factors such as infections contribute to the development of the condition. Rheumatoid arthritis can be painful but also lead to disabilities, deformities, and loss of mobility without proper care and treatment. Rheumatologists are the specialists that can reach a comprehensive diagnosis and plan a long-term rheumatoid arthritis treatment.

A Look at Rheumatoid Arthritis Symptoms

The primary rheumatoid arthritis symptoms are often joint swelling, chronic pain, and morning stiffness. Rheumatoid arthritis morning stiffness typically occurs due to immobility and can persist for an hour or so. In advanced stages, rheumatoid arthritis inflammation can result in cartilage and tendon erosion and joint damage, which can impact motion range and can lead to deformities.

Secondary rheumatoid arthritis symptoms can be tender spots, redness, swelling, fever, and fatigue. Every individual with rheumatoid arthritis experience different symptoms that vary in severity with periods of remission and flare-ups. If the pain and swelling become too severe to cope with and begin to impact everyday life, it is important to discuss stronger treatment options with your doctor. Nearly 25% of people with rheumatoid arthritis also experience complications related to other organs, so proper treatment to stop the progression of the disease is vital.

Treating Rheumatoid Arthritis

Even though it is incurable, rheumatoid arthritis can be managed and treated with a multitude of options. Medications combined with adequate rest and regular low-impact exercise can improve the symptoms and prevent the disease from worsening. Rheumatoid arthritis treatment is, however, case-specific and depends on how severe one’s symptoms are, how frequently they experience flare-ups, their age, and overall health.

Over-the-counter pain relievers like ibuprofen and Advil can relieve pain and stiffness in mild cases, whereas topical ointments can improve stiffness and swelling. There are also more potent medication options like prescription-strength pain relievers and corticosteroids. Moreover, disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs) are often used to treat rheumatoid arthritis. These drugs work by preventing the immune system response that causes the inflammation of the joints.

Physical therapy is another excellent treatment option to improve symptoms and impede the progression of rheumatoid arthritis. Getting enough rest, quitting smoking, and avoiding too much stress are also important to prevent flare-ups and severe symptoms.

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Changing Your Diet to Relieve Rheumatoid Arthritis

Relieve Rheumatoid Arthritis

Arthritis is a chronic autoimmune disease that does not have a cure. However, relieving arthritis symptoms is possible with the right treatment and lifestyle modifications such as making dietary changes. Joint inflammation causes arthritis symptoms, and our diet can also contribute to further inflammation. Here are some diet tips to help relieve rheumatoid arthritis.

Having an arthritis-friendly diet does not mean that the changes you make in your diet will necessarily improve your condition and symptoms, but your diet has a significant role in managing arthritis flare-ups and severe symptoms. Here are some tips to help you plan an arthritis-friendly diet.

Say Yes to These Foods

These are some foods with anti-inflammatory properties that you should include in your diet:

Fish with Omega-3

Fatty fish that are abundant in essential Omega-3 fatty acids like salmon and mackerel have been proven to improve arthritis symptoms by reducing inflammation. Omega-3 fatty acids also promote cardiovascular health, which is important considering inflammatory autoimmune diseases like arthritis can also inflame the tissue around the heart in some cases.

Fruits and Vegetables

Arthritis turns your immune system against itself while weakening it. Vegetables and fruits are high in antioxidants that can boost your immune system and reduce inflammation. Make sure your diet has a variety of fresh fruit and vegetables, especially those that are dark green, red, purple, and blue such as kale, blueberries

Whole Grain Foods

In addition to promoting heart health and regularity, fiber-rich whole grain foods like oatmeal can also improve arthritis symptoms by interfering with the action of chemicals that trigger inflammation.

Say No to These Foods

Incorporating anti-inflammatory foods into your diet is not enough because you also need to cut out foods that are known to worsen arthritis inflammation.

Sugar

Refined carbohydrates like sugar can contribute to inflammation and severe arthritis symptoms. It is important to read labels to reduce your intake and avoid processed and snack foods.

Dairy

One of the chemicals that trigger inflammation in the body called c-reactive protein is aplenty in milk products, so they can also cause inflammation and trigger flare-ups. Full-fat dairy products are especially high in c-reactive protein, opting for low-fat dairy foods or dairy alternatives such as almond milk is ideal.

Salt

A high sodium intake can also be problematic in those with arthritis as too much salt can contribute to swelling and inflammation as well. Just as with refined sugar, it is essential to read food labels and also modify your cooking to reduce your daily salt intake.

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Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis

1 in 1000 children may get a form of juvenile arthritis, and the type that children younger than 16 years old most commonly develop is juvenile rheumatoid arthritis.

Rheumatoid arthritis is often considered to be a condition that only affects the elderly, but children can also develop rheumatoid arthritis. According to the American College of Rheumatology, 1 in 1000 children may get a form of juvenile arthritis, and the type that children younger than 16 years old most commonly develop is juvenile rheumatoid arthritis.

The Difference Between Juvenile and Adult Rheumatoid Arthritis

Although the term juvenile implies that the condition is merely a type of rheumatoid arthritis that affects kids, this is not the full picture. Juvenile rheumatoid arthritis also differs in the way it targets the joints.

Rheumatoid arthritis that adults develop typically targets small joints whereas juvenile rheumatoid arthritis usually begins by affecting larger joints, in addition to the skin and eyes. Moreover, juvenile rheumatoid arthritis treatment is often more aggressive as the condition can have a detrimental impact on children’s development.

In fact, juvenile rheumatoid arthritis and adult rheumatoid arthritis differ enough for medical professionals to categorize the condition and the approach to its management differently. Because the cause of juvenile rheumatoid arthritis is often unearthed, the disease is sometimes referred to as juvenile idiopathic arthritis. Juvenile chronic arthritis is also another name used to refer to the condition.  

Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis Risks

While girls are at a higher risk of developing juvenile arthritis, the condition can develop in anyone with any ethnic background. Without pinpointing the cause, preventing juvenile arthritis is not possible. Research shows that genetics play the biggest role in children developing juvenile rheumatoid arthritis. It most commonly occurs in children with a family history of autoimmune diseases. Studies also show that environmental factors such as an infection can play a role in triggering the development of juvenile arthritis.

Symptoms

Just like adult rheumatoid arthritis, juvenile rheumatoid arthritis causes inflammation in the joints for 4-6 weeks, which is referred to as a flare-up. The condition most commonly exhibits itself with the following symptoms:

– Joint Pain (usually in the morning)

– Swelling in large joints, e.g. the knees

– Stiffness (morning stiffness is very common)

Most children get a juvenile arthritis diagnosis when they are aged 1-4, but since this is a young age to notice and describe symptoms, parents should look out for impaired fine motor function and limping. Some secondary juvenile rheumatoid arthritis symptoms are:

– Immobility/inactivity

– Inability to use a limb

– Repeated fever

– Rashes

There are also juvenile arthritis subtypes, all of which may cause different symptoms. These are some of the common juvenile arthritis subtypes:

Oligoarticular – Almost 50% of kids with juvenile arthritis have this type of arthritis, but oligoarticular is more common in girls than it is in boys. This subtype typically targets a few joints at a time.

Systemic – Systemic juvenile arthritis makes up 10% of all juvenile arthritis cases and can impact the entire body with accompanying symptoms of rashes, fever, and swelling.  

Polyarticular – Though rare, polyarticular is similar to adult rheumatoid arthritis and affects 4-5 small joints. However, this subtype is the most likely to result in joint damage.

Diagnosis and Treatment

Your child’s healthcare team will likely eliminate the likelihood of other conditions initially such as infections and lupus as there isn’t one test that detects juvenile rheumatoid arthritis. Typically, a pediatric rheumatologist can reach a diagnosis based on symptoms, medical history, and a physical examination and plan a long-term treatment for juvenile rheumatoid arthritis.

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Treating Rheumatoid Arthritis

Treating Rheumatoid Arthritis

Rheumatoid Arthritis is an autoimmune disease that causes inflammation in the lining of the joints, resulting in chronic pain, particularly in the hands, knees, and feet. Rheumatoid arthritis typically develops after the age of 40 and is more common in women. Without proper care and treatment, rheumatoid arthritis can potentially damage the tissue, cartilage, tendons, and bone around the joint. So what does treating rheumatoid arthritis involve?

In extreme cases, it may even begin to target other organs like the skin, lungs, heart, eyes, and nerves. In most cases, people with rheumatoid arthritis begin to show symptoms of pain and stiffness their hands, wrists, and feet, and often on both sides of their body. Exhibiting the same symptoms on both sides is a unique rheumatoid arthritis symptom that makes its diagnosis easier.

The hallmark symptom of rheumatoid arthritis is joint inflammation, which is the cause pain, stiffness, and swelling. inflammation. In most cases, a doctor can reach a diagnosis based on symptoms, physical exam, medical history, and blood tests. When you consult a doctor suspecting you may have rheumatoid arthritis, you are typically referred to a rheumatologist for conclusive diagnosis and to begin treatment. Early diagnosis and proper treatment are vital in preventing severe symptoms and more complications.

Standard Rheumatoid Arthritis Treatment

There are many ways to manage rheumatoid arthritis symptoms medically such as medications like corticosteroids, and in more advanced cases where there are deformities or need to slow down the progression of the disease surgery. However, rheumatoid arthritis treatment varies individual to individual depending on the severity of their case and overall health. Most rheumatoid arthritis medicines come with adverse side effects, so rheumatologists prefer to begin with milder options initially.

Over-the-counter pain relievers like nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and corticosteroids can be used to relieve pain and stiffness. Whereas disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs, immunosuppressants, and TNF-alpha inhibitors work by targeting the immune system response that causes too much inflammation, which is the reason for the RA symptoms.

Physical therapy can also be effective in managing rheumatoid arthritis symptoms on a daily basis to lessen the impact the condition has on the quality of life.

If standard rheumatoid drugs are not effective, surgery may be recommended by your doctor, such as joint replacement, tendon repair, or joint fusion fail to prevent or slow joint damage, one may consider surgery to repair the damaged joints. Surgery is often the last resort as it comes with considerable risk.

Rheumatoid Arthritis Natural Remedies and Lifestyle Changes

Making lifestyle changes and relying on natural remedies in combination with medications can help you manage rheumatoid arthritis symptoms much more efficiently.

Low-impact exercises like swimming, walking, and water aerobics are gentle on the joints and muscles, and they can improve rheumatoid arthritis symptoms. Consult your rheumatologist about the type of exercises is ideal for your case.

A hot shower/bath or hot compress/heating pads can relieve stiffness and swelling associated with rheumatoid arthritis. Alternatively, cold compress and exposing the area that is painful to cold water can numb the pain.

It is important to decompress and rest as much as you because stress and exertion also trigger rheumatoid arthritis flare-ups. Breathing exercises, meditation, and guided imagery are also excellent alternative treatment options to manage stress and reduce pain.

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Rheumatoid Arthritis Explained

Rheumatoid Arthritis

Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic autoimmune disease that most commonly causes pain in the joints, particularly in the hands and feet. Affecting over 1% of the world’s population, rheumatoid arthritis can attack the joint lining, cause swelling, pain, and even deformities in severe cases.

Being an autoimmune condition, rheumatoid arthritis results in the immune system working against itself and attacking its own tissues. Rheumatoid arthritis tends to develop after the age of 40 and is more common in women than it is in men. Rheumatoid arthritis pain and swelling typically occur on each side of the body as well; it usually affects both hands, feet, or knees.

What Causes Rheumatoid Arthritis?

The exact causes of rheumatoid arthritis remains a mystery. Research shows that genetic and environmental factors play a role in the development of the disease. The condition is thought to occur due to one or two mutated genes that cause the immune response that causes rheumatoid arthritis. When the immune response gets triggered, lymphocytes in the body release chemical messengers known as cytokines, which are cause too much inflammation.

The most prominent cytokines that cause rheumatoid arthritis inflammation are tumor necrosis factor (TNF) and interleukin-1, which are known to contribute to joint damage. These cytokines can primarily target a joint tissue called synovium–a soft tissue–, which can lead to bone and joint damage.

Treating Rheumatoid Arthritis

Rheumatoid arthritis is incurable, but there are many rheumatoid arthritis treatment options, from standard medicines to lifestyle modifications like getting more rest and exercise. In severe cases where there is a deformity, surgery can also be an option. RA treatment is case specific, so the approach to treatment will depend on individual factors such as the severity of symptoms, age, overall health, and medical history.

Over-the-counter NSAIDs like ibuprofen and Advil can relieve inflammation, stiffness, and pain in mild to moderate cases. However, in more severe cases, prescription-strength options pain medications and corticosteroids may be needed to manage the pain and swelling.

Most rheumatoid arthritis medications, also known as disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs), target the entire immune system in order to prevent the response that causes inflammation and pain.

Lifestyle modifications can also help in slowing down the progression of the disease as well as managing its symptoms. Low-impact physical activity and physical therapy improve symptoms, strengthen your muscles, and improve your overall quality of life drastically.

Getting enough rest is also essential. Finally, smoking is a rheumatoid arthritis risk factor, so giving up cigarettes can help you prevent developing RA and flare-ups.

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